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The 2012 Spring Racing Carnival was officially launched on the eve of the first Victorian Group 1 of the season Racing Victoria (RV) and some of the sport’s leading jockeys joined forces today to officially launch the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival which begins with a free day of racing at Caulfield tomorrow.

The first Group 1 race of the spring, the Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes, heralds the start of Australia’s premier carnival which spans 65 action-packed days and takes in a record 115 race meetings.

It will showcase world class racing, fashion and entertainment at racetracks across the state through until its conclusion on Sunday, 25 November with the running of the Ballarat Cup.

Around 650,000 people are expected to enjoy a day at the races during this year’s Carnival which offers more than $50 million in prize money and includes some of the world’s most coveted races.

Tomorrow is the first of eight consecutive weekends of elite Group 1 racing in Melbourne. At the same time, regional communities will gather at 36 race clubs and four picnic clubs to celebrate the 96 country meetings, including 26 country cups, to be held outside the metropolitan area during this year’s Carnival.

“The Spring Racing Carnival is an iconic event on the Australian sporting and social calendar and the industry looks forward to showcasing our premier events to the people of Victoria and to the thousands of interstate and international visitors who will attend spring meetings,”RV Chief Executive, Rob Hines, said.

“The big three – the Emirates Melbourne Cup, BMW Caulfield Cup and Sportingbet Cox Plate – are again the jewels in the Carnival crown, but we are equally pleased to showcase and celebrate racing right across the state, including 26 country cups, from Manangatang to Bairnsdale and everywhere in between.

“We are particularly pleased with the continued internationalisation of the Spring Racing Carnival and will once again welcome a large contingent of European horses to Melbourne including France’s past two Emirates Melbourne Cup winners Americain and Dunaden who are currently in quarantine in England.

“Whilst the backbone of the Spring Racing Carnival remains the same, there are some key enhancements and changes this year. These include the introduction of two-day Sportingbet Cox Plate and TAB Cranbourne Cup Carnivals to further showcase our night racing; the return of the Turnbull Stakes to its traditional Saturday timeslot; and record prizemoney for the marquee Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat Cups.”

The key enhancements and changes to this year’s Spring Racing Carnival include;

  • The launch of a two-day Sportingbet Cox Plate Carnival at Moonee Valley featuring the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) under lights on Friday night, 26 October, and the Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) the following afternoon
  • The return of Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival Preview Day featuring the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) to a Saturday afternoon timeslot on 6 October after two years on a Sunday owing to clashes with the AFL Grand Final
  • The move of Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Day at Caulfield to Sunday, 30 September – the day after the AFL Grand Final – as the final lead-up to the BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival a fortnight later
  • The record prizemoney on offer for the Centrebet Geelong Cup (up 33% to $300,000), Jayco Bendigo Cup (up 25% to $250,000) and the Ballarat Cup (up 33% to $200,000)
  • The introduction of a two-day TAB Cranbourne Cup Carnival with the inaugural Pinker Pinker Classic headlining a new feature meeting on Friday night, 12 October and the Cup to be run two days later
  • The Spring Racing Carnival is not just about what happens on the track and this year the 50th anniversary of Fashions on the Field – now a highlight of many feature meetings during spring – will be celebrated.

To mark this anniversary, the National Sports Museum has commissioned a special exhibition titled Racing Style – 50 Years of Fashions on the Field. It was announced today that the MCG-based exhibition will open on 15 October and will showcase the unique style of the competition since it was first introduced.

Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said that the Carnival is the most prestigious sporting and social event in Australia and one that the state should be proud of.

“Victoria’s Spring Racing Carnival brings to life the colour and excitement that typifies not just the best in racing, but also highlights the best in Australian tourism, fashion, food and wine,” Dr Napthine said.

“Last year, the Spring Racing Carnival generated more than $570 million to the Victorian economy and supported more than 3,600 full time equivalent jobs in the State.

“The Baillieu Coalition Government is a staunch supporter of racing and I encourage all Victorians to come and experience the colour and atmosphere of this year’s Spring Racing Carnival whether it be in Melbourne or at one of regional Victoria’s marvellous country Cup days.”

For further information on the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival visit