Melbourne’s first big meeting of the Spring Racing Carnival has been pushed forward to an early timeslot to make way for the Royal Melbourne Show on October 2, 2011.
This year’s Turnbull Stakes Day, which features the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and three Group 2 races, will begin at Flemington Racecourse 10.30am and finish at 2.30pm.
This is in order to accommodate patrons who would like to attend the neighbouring Royal Melbourne Show that afternoon.
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) chief executive Dale Monteith said the change was impossible to avoid this year.
“We’ve certainly copped it with this meeting,” Monteith said.
“Last year the AFL Grand Final replay forced our hand (to move it to the Sunday) and this year, with the Grand Final being pushed back to October 1, we had to move to the Sunday to avoid a clash.
“About five months ago we became aware the State Government had pushed the school holidays back to go into the first week of October, which meant the timing of the Royal Melbourne Show changed.
“We’re expecting 20,000 to 25,000 at the Turnbull Stakes, while that day is probably the busiest day of the Show, where they get as many as 75,000.
“So you’re with 100,000 people attending the precinct, which is the sort of traffic we have to deal with on Derby Day at Flemington.”
Tabcorp general manager of marketing, Ian Mackay, said the company was at war with the VRC over the new timeslot.
“We estimate the impact to be up to 30 per cent of the expected turnover on the meeting, which equates to some millions of dollars,” Mr Mackay said.
“The total day turnover impact does depend on what other programming changes are made by RVL (Racing Victoria) to mitigate the impact of the early start of the Turnbull Stakes meeting.
“We are aware that they are looking to make some changes to offset the decrease.
“The impact was advised to RVL and VRC some time back, so they’ve reached their decision factoring this in.”