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Sandown races
Image: Bruno Cannatelli

Go to the racing calendar and you will see no races are scheduled in Victoria from Monday July 26 until Friday July 30 inclusive.

This is a sequel to Racing Victoria’s decision to trial a race-free week … and it will very much be a trial with potential outcomes, both positive and negative, sure to impact on whether this idea has a future or not.

The obvious has already been pointed out … namely, with horses not racing during this time, owners could become restless about not being able to earn prize-money and that there would be a backlog of horses waiting to run when racing is resumed. Also, that the ‘break’ would do little to ease the workload of stable employees with horses still having to be exercised and fed.

Champion trainer Peter Moody certainly does not support the concept.

“I don’t see the sense or the necessity in it,” Moody told

“Who is getting the break? Do the jockeys need a break? They say that a lot of jockeys don’t earn enough to make a living, so just let the ones that don’t want or need to ride have the week off.

“The only time the whole industry could have a break is if we have three months off and that’s never going to happen.”

A number of Victorian trainers have voiced their backing of Moody’s opinion. Moody’s bottom line question is a simple one … which group of stakeholders are the intended beneficiaries of the trial?

On the other side of the coin, in theory, stable workloads would not have to be conducted with race-day intensity during this time … and Racing Victoria has already reacted to any possible post-trial horse nominations and acceptances logjam by stating that it will assess the number of nominations and acceptances for meetings immediately following the trial.

Further, Racing Victoria has indicated that, where that assessment justifies it, races will be split and the racing program amended to not only try to cater for all horses looking for a run, but also to allow an additional prize-money distribution.

The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

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