Racing Victoria has abandoned its experiment with reduced times between races during the busiest day of the racing week.
In a move to placate frustrated punters, national broadcaster Sky Racing as well as other major racing jurisdictions, Racing Victoria will fall back into line with a previously adopted national race times’ template.
Starting from this Black Caviar Lightning Stakes meeting at Flemington, Racing Victoria will return to normal scheduling for Saturday racing.
Racing Victoria has trialled 30-minute gaps between races for the past two Saturday metropolitan meetings in a decision that caused chaos with the national racing clock.
It reached a farcical stage when Sky Racing switched Melbourne races to its secondary subscriber-only channel to avoid clashes with races the broadcaster said it was contractually obliged to telecast.
There were several direct clashes between Melbourne and Sydney races while there was only a five-minute gap between the return of Australia’s racehorse Winx in a Sydney race and the Group CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
“Whilst there has been plenty of positive feedback from all sectors of the industry on the benefits of reducing the gaps between races, we do acknowledge the valid concerns of some punters and participants around their experience on Saturdays thus far,” Racing Victoria chairman David Moodie said in a statement.
Racing Victoria and Racing NSW officials met last week and agreed to trial 30-minute gaps between weekday metropolitan meetings in the two states.
The six-month trial will start from March 2.
“This is a pleasing outcome for the racing industry, arrived at in collaboration with Racing Victoria,” Racing NSW chairman John Messara said.
But Racing Victoria will extend its trial of 30-minute breaks for most of its racing week.
“We will continue with a our trial on Sundays through Fridays which will allow us to undertake more robust and accurate analysis of the impacts on wagering, operations, customer behaviour and the raceday experience over an expanded period,” Moodie said.