Inaugural Victorian Good Friday race meeting for Sale

Racing Victoria (RV), in conjunction with Country Racing Victoria (CRV), on Thursday announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, Sale will be the inaugural host of Good Friday racing in 2022.

RV and CRV announced plans last month for the creation of a feature annual race meeting in country Victoria which would launch the Easter long weekend.

The destination event is designed to support tourism in regional Victoria and would see thoroughbred racing join the AFL, NRL and NBL in conducting professional sport on Good Friday within Victoria.

Sale has been chosen by RV and CRV to host the inaugural Good Friday meeting which is proposed to rotate annually throughout Victoria promoting the different regions of the state and encouraging tourism within.

Sale is home to one of state’s premier country racetracks and is in the heart of the Gippsland region in Victoria’s east. It is the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes, the largest inland waterway system in Australia, and a short drive from the iconic Ninety Mile Beach.

If changes to the Racing Act 1958, which would permit the conduct of thoroughbred racing on Good Friday, are passed by the Victorian Parliament, RV and CRV are committed to ensuring that racing will not commence prior to 1pm – as currently occurs on ANZAC Day.
The racing program for the 2022 Good Friday meeting, which if approved would be held on Friday, 15 April, is under construction and will be announced in the coming months.

RV and CRV are also planning for the feature race meeting to support fundraising efforts for the Good Friday Appeal with details to now be progressed with the Sale Turf Club upon its selection.

The Good Friday Appeal is currently the official charity partner of Victoria’s All-Star Mile with over $150,000 in race entry fees donated to the Appeal over the past three years by RV.

Racing is currently prohibited in Victoria on Good Friday and Christmas Day. The State Government introduced a bill into Parliament last month seeking to amend the Racing Act 1958 to allow for the conduct of racing on Good Friday. It is anticipated that the Bill will be debated in Parliament over the coming weeks.

Victorian thoroughbred racing generates over $3 billion annually for the Victorian economy and boasts the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs across the State.

“As stated last month, we’re excited about the potential to create a feature raceday that makes country Victoria a focal point on Good Friday for racing fans and provides another incentive for holidaymakers to venture into country Victoria over Easter," said RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson.

“We would want this raceday to be a destination event for country Victoria, one that showcases different areas of our state through an annual rotation, thus supporting the different country communities that promote racing year-round.

“Together with CRV, we’re pleased to announce that, Sale will be the inaugural host of this exciting new raceday if the legislation passes through Parliament and approval is granted to race on Good Friday from 2022.

“Sale is one of our leading country racetracks and a Good Friday raceday would provide a wonderful opportunity to work with the local community to promote the broader Gippsland region and to showcase country racing at its best.”

“If supported by the Parliament, Good Friday presents a terrific opportunity to develop another marquee raceday in the country, whilst helping to support tourism in regional Victoria which has had its challenges throughout the COVID pandemic," said CRV Chief Executive, Scott Whiteman.

“We too are excited to announce that, if approved, the Sale Turf Club would host the inaugural Good Friday race meeting in Victoria, and we know that they will do an outstanding job in promoting the local region and country racing.

“Gippsland is a wonderful part of country Victoria, and the region has done it tough over the past two years with the devasting bushfires of 2019-20 rolling straight into the COVID pandemic. If approved by Parliament, we’re keen to see this event support Gippsland next Easter and generate additional tourism for the region.”