AFL Forces Spring Carnival Date Changes

By: Ryan Clark
June 8th, 2011

There are a few important date changes worth noting during the 2011 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival as outlined today.

The Group 1 Underwood Stakes and the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes have traditional being run on the same card however this year Racing Victoria says they will be split up.

The changes have come about to avoid a major clash with the AFL Premiership Grand Final during the same period.

The Underwood Stakes will be the inaugural Group 1 race of the carnival and be held at Caulfield on September the 17th.

A new meeting has been created at Caulfield on September the 24th at Caulfield which will house the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on the same program as both the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude and the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes.

The AFL Grand Final has shifted from the final week in September to the first Saturday in October as a result of new franchise the Gold Coast Suns.

Racing at Moonee Valley has a different plan of attack and it will actually shift with the AFL grand Final with the night racing season to start a week later in its traditional spot on AFL Grand Final eve.

The Group 1 Manikato Stakes will be held at that meeting on September the 30th.

The AFL Grand Final replay last year forced the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes to move and it’s a timeslot it will now stay in for 2011 and beyond.

Sunday October 2nd will be the date for the 2000m contest which headlines the preview day for the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

All up there will be eight straight weekend’s of top shelf racing in metropolitan Victoria with Group 1’s  on all eight main cards.

The total number of meetings will be 112 across the state of just 65 days.

The Ballarat Cup will once again conclude the state wide carnival on November the 20th.

“Group One racing is the pinnacle of our sport and it was determined that the carnival should encapsulate all 18 Group One races run in Victoria during the spring period,” RV chief strategy officer Paul Bittar said.

“Thus the carnival will officially begin on September 17 with Underwood Stakes day at Caulfield.

“The changes to the start of the carnival program optimise the flow of races at Caulfield in particular, with the Rupert Clarke Stakes now two weeks before the Toorak Handicap and the Caulfield Guineas now only a fortnight after the Prelude instead of three weeks.”

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