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Victorian tenth race to return for the majority of the 2024-25 racing season after winter break

Racing Victoria (RV) on Wednesday announced that Saturday metropolitan meetings will revert to nine races for the months of June and July.

This follows a successful trial which commenced in August 2023 and has provided significant insights into the benefits of a 10th race at these meetings.

The trial of 10-race cards, which will continue through to May, has generated increased revenue and opportunities for more trainers and owners to earn prizemoney and race in the city on a Saturday.

The decision to pause the trial through June and July is driven by shorter daylight hours in these months and the challenges of managing winter workloads on tracks.

It considers feedback from industry stakeholders throughout the trial and via written submissions requested in recent weeks.

Given the success of the trial, the expectation is that 10-race Saturday metropolitan cards will return for the majority of the 2024-25 racing season.

This will be finalised over the next two months as part of the current planning and industry consultation process around the racing program for next season.

Trial Overview

A total of 23 Saturday metropolitan meetings featured an additional 10th race from 1 August 2023 to 29 February 2024. Following are the trial outcomes during that period:

11 restricted races (Aspirant/Challenger) and 12 open benchmark races were held;

Total prizemoney of $1.9 million was paid out at $80,000 per race;

22 different stables and 20 jockeys were victorious across the 23 races;

Total turnover was $98 million at an average of $4.2 million per race;

Net wagering revenue was $1.5 million after payment of prizemoney;

An average field size of 10.8 starters – up on the 10.1 average for these meetings;

No meeting started earlier than 11.50am (excluding extreme weather adjustments);

The maximum length of time that a meeting extended by was 20 minutes; and

Arrival times for horses engaged in Races 1 and 2 were cut from 120 to 90 minutes.

“Saturday metro meetings represent 10 percent of our product but deliver 40 percent of our wagering turnover. It is the peak timeslot for punters to engage," said RV Chief Executive, Andrew Jones.

“The 10th race has provided more racing when our customers most want to watch, hence delivering additional revenue to help fund the industry.
“It has also given more owners, trainers and jockeys the chance to compete on racing’s biggest day of the week.

“We are conscious of participant and staff welfare so have minimised the length of the raceday. Trainers and stable staff in the opening races can now actually arrive later than previously.

“Winter has the shortest days and wettest months and is our lowest-turnover period. Hence we will revert to nine races in June and July. This was advocated for by our Clubs and helps manage track and participant workload.

“The expectation is that 10 races on a Saturday will return next season outside the middle of winter.

“We are working on race dates and programs for the 2024-25 season at present and will finalise them over the next two months.

“Our goal is to maximise fan engagement and returns to industry, being mindful of participant and staff welfare.

“In doing so, we’ll also continue to focus on the length of time from Race 1 to 10 in what is a busy national schedule.”

10-race Saturday metropolitan cards will return for the majority of the 2024-25 racing season, picture Racing Photos

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