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Racing Victoria’s move to retain a traditional Spring Carnival has been backed by the key ownership association, saying “it was not a difficult decision’’.

It comes after RV’s board on Friday announced it would not proceed with a new look spring program, championed by the Melbourne Racing Club and other stakeholders.

RV chairman Brian Kruger said the carnival would kick off with the Group 1 Memsie Stakes on August 29 and made note that important stakeholders such as the Australian Trainers Association (ATA) and Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association (TROA) “both supported the retention of our existing program”.

But MRC chairman Peter Le Grand later hit out at the decision.

Victorian Racehorse Owners Association chairman Jonathan Munz told the RV board “made the correct decision in the interests of the industry as a whole”.
“All the major owners, trainers and breeders opposed the MRC proposal. The other race clubs opposed it too in varying degrees - they just did not want to say anything publicly,’’ he said.

“It was not a difficult decision. Anyone who knew anything about racing would have realised that was the only decision you could make.”

Munz said the flow-on effect of a later Caulfield Cup in November could not be ignored.

“The clear view was that the disruption to the racing calendar and lead up races and the impact on the Autumn carnival overrode any one-off benefit to a few MRC major race days,’’ he said.

“I appreciate MRC’s concern about potential clashes with AFL matches and potential one-off shortfalls in revenue this year and would support any request by them to help the Club.

While several wagering figures told that they expected turnover to increase if racing did not clash with the AFL finals, Munz said RV’s analysis showed otherwise.

“RVL advised that it’s modelling shows that the financial impact is unlikely to be material, but that will be determined,’’ he said, adding he understood why the MRC and Le Grand were disappointed by RV’s decision, who labelled it “predictable’’.

“But I am sure the Club will do their usual excellent job in putting on a great Caulfield Cup Carnival.’’
But now for owners, attention turns to whether RV will reinstate prize money after it was cut following impacts of COVID-19.

“It is imperative that RVL gets on the front foot as soon as possible and matches Racing NSW in reinstating prize money back to usual levels and get owners and other fans back to the track,” Munz said.


Source: Paul Tatnell,