Fears the Darren Weir scandal could negatively impact betting turnover on Victorian racing haven't been realised with the Melbourne Racing Club reporting a significant increase in wagering on the C.F. Orr Stakes program.
The opening meeting of the Festival of Racing was the first Saturday program since the announcement of Weir's four-year disqualification and while turnover isn't the sole indicator of racing's health, it is how the sport derives the majority of its revenue.
MRC chief executive Josh Blanksby revealed on Tuesday that betting turnover was up 23.1 per cent despite a 4.4 per cent drop in starters, year on year.
"It is pleasantly surprising and the total turnover figures are up towards the numbers we have come to expect for an early Spring Carnival meeting, so it is very positive for the industry," Blanksby said.
"In all honesty I wasn't too sure how turnover would react considering the week racing had endured.
"But the figures show that confidence is still there in Caulfield and confidence in Victorian racing."
Blanksby said turnover at the Caulfield meeting seven days earlier had been up two per cent despite Racing Victoria stewards ordering the late scratching of 12 runners prepared by Weir and Jarrod McLean.
"Two of the nine races were left with less than eight runners, which tends to have a negative impact on turnover but we still managed a two per cent increase year on year," Blanksby said.
Caulfield two-year-old winner I Am Immortal, picture Quentinjlang.com