The resurfaced Caulfield track has been given the all clear to reopen on C.F. Orr Stakes Race Day on February 14.
Caulfield has been closed since after the running of last year’s Caulfield Cup on October 18 when the course proper was completely ripped up and a new racing surface was laid.
The establishment and regrowth of the grass has proceeded without any hiccups and the Melbourne Racing Club is set to host the first Group 1 of the Melbourne Autumn Carnival, the weight for age $400,000 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
Racing Victoria Chief Steward Terry Bailey officially gave the all clear to resume racing at Caulfield following the completion of a set of barrier trials on Tuesday morning.
Bailey, along with Caulfield Track Manager Jason Kerr, walled the circuit and was happy with the racing surface.
“It is quite remarkable how perfect the surface is and what the Melbourne Racing Club has achieved in a short period of time, it’s a real credit to the club,” Bailey told TVN.
“We’re all looking forward to getting back racing on 14 February.”
Kerr was delighted with the reports from senior jockeys who rode at the trials and is keen to be racing back to Caulfield.
“We’re delighted with how the process has gone but it’s great to receive official clearance from Racing Victoria and glowing reports from the jockeys this morning,” Kerr said.
“Having walked the track after jump-outs there is virtually no mark on the track so we couldn’t be more pleased.
“We’ll continue to irrigate as usual and give it another roll before February 14.
Kerr said that the first meeting on C.F. Orr Stakes Day will have the rail in the true position and it will possibly be pushed out for the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes meeting two weeks later.
“We’ll have a grass length of around 130m with the rail in the true position for C.F. Orr Stakes Day,” Kerr said.
“It will be moved out slightly for Blue Diamond Day but we’ll review it after 14 February.”
Also on the February 14 program are the two Blue Diamond Preludes for the two year olds, the Group 2 $200,000 Prelude for the fillies and the Group 3 $150,000 Prelude for the colts and geldings as well as the Group 2 $200,000 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) for the open class sprinters.
The three year olds will be catered for in the Group 2 $200,000 Autumn Stakes (1400m) while the three year olds fillies will go around in the Group 3 $150,000 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m).
The other two Group races are the Group 3 $150,000 T S Carlyon Cup (1600m) for the open gallopers and the Group 3 $150,000 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) for the mares.