Saturday provincial meetings have been cut in what is sure to be a controversial move by Racings Victoria in their revised racing calendar for 2011/2012.
The decision was made so they could accommodate Friday Night racing at Cranbourne without having to increase the overall number of events on the Victorian racing program.
In fact for next season racing Victoria have only had to add another three events to the schedule with a plan to move Cranbourne’s Sunday races to alternate venues keeping the number of events state wide to 570.
CEO of Racing Victoria Rob Hines says the new night meets to be based at Cranbourne were a tactic to grab a bigger share of the betting market.
“The pathway for this development was set out in the industry’s Racing To 2020 plan which outlined the need to grow our night racing product,” Hines said.
“Friday nights and Thursday twilights have become increasingly popular wagering timeslots and this plan allows us to compete more effectively for the punter’s discretionary dollar.
“Night racing not only allows us to export Victorian racing into international markets for the benefit of the industry, but provides a vehicle to take our sport to younger generations.”
With Cranbourne now added to Friday nights Victoria will have 34 meetings between the new venue and the traditional home of Friday Night Racing, Moonee Valley.
Also included will be a circuit of events incorporating twilight races held on a Thursday.
The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes has also had to be moved to avoid a clash with the AFL Grand Final.