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Historic changes to Victoria's spring programme under discussion

The Caulfield Cup could be the last major race of a revamped Victoria Spring Racing Carnival, according to reports, with a raft of potential changes to this year’s feature races being considered.

While racing administrators are adamant no decision has been made on any programming changes as yet, the Herald Sun reports the Caulfield Cup will be run on November 28 and the Caulfield Guineas a week earlier on November 21.

It follows months of speculation surrounding changes to historic race dates to avoid clashing with a delayed AFL season as a result of COVID-19.

Racing.com has been told a detailed proposal outlining potential changes to programming across the carnival has been sent to select key participants but no agreement has been reached between the clubs, their boards or the Racing Victoria (RV) board.

The RV board will meet on Tuesday to discuss a detailed proposal that outlines major changes to programming, with a final decision on what the Victoria Spring Racing Carnival may look like to be delivered by the start of next week.

Corporate bookmakers are also pushing hard for racing to avoid a clash with the AFL.

It is also understood that changes being considered include transferring the traditional spring Sandown meeting, always held the week following the Melbourne Cup, to Caulfield instead.

Another potential change could see the Cox Plate held at night for the first time in its 100th running if the AFL grand final remains in its traditional time slot.

Moonee Valley CEO Michael Browell previously told Racing.com that June 1 was their deadline for all decisions on his club’s feature races and he was open to moving the Cox Plate around the AFL.

Victorian Racing Club CEO Neil Wilson has previously stated the likelihood that the Melbourne Cup would remain on the first Tuesday of November, but other clubs including the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC), have indicated they are open to a change in dates for their major races to avoid clashes with a delayed football season.

The MRC referred Racing.com to RV for comment.

Other racing administrators are hopeful a delayed carnival may also allow some participants and members to return to the track in some capacity.

Wilson has told Racing.com that the club would safely ‘’use every inch of grass’’ to allow crowds if COVID-19 restrictions allowed, while MRC CEO Josh Blanksby yesterday tweeted the club was looking at various ways it could get crowds to its events.

Trainers have called for the dates to be made clear as early as possible to allow them time to get plan their stables for key races.

The Melbourne Cup would remain in its traditional time slot, picture ThoroughbredNEWS

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