Day At The Track

Harness Racing Victoria's new programme

08:40 AM 09 Apr 2009 NZST
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Courtesy Of Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today released its 2009-10 racing calendar which will see the State host 505 meetings over the 12 month period commencing July 1. The highlights of the calendar are the introduction of Victoria's new home of harness racing, Tabcorp Park, and the return of racing to Hamilton after a five year absence.

Tabcorp Park will host 55 meetings next financial year commencing with its gala opening on Sunday afternoon, July 5, whilst Hamilton will unveil its new state-of-the-art 1000-metre racetrack at a twilight Cup meeting on Sunday, February 28, 2010.

Tabcorp Park will become a resident fixture on Friday nights with 47 of its 55 meetings scheduled for that timeslot. Four Sunday afternoon meetings, three Thursday nights and one Saturday night - to coincide with the 2009 Rothacker Medal - will be held at Tabcorp Park in its debut season.

Nine regional clubs will conduct a total of 13 meetings at Tabcorp Park in 2009-10 including St Arnaud who will host their cup meeting under lights for the first time on Friday, November 20 and Geelong who will host a New Year's spectacular at the venue on Thursday night, December 31.

Stawell, Geelong, Kilmore and Ballarat will each host two meetings at Tabcorp Park, whilst Bendigo, St Arnaud, Wedderburn, Ouyen and Maryborough will host one apiece.

In total, 37 clubs will conduct TAB meetings at 21 tracks throughout the State in 2009-10 with the most active tracks being Tabcorp Park (55), Bendigo (43), Ballarat (40), Shepparton (39), Geelong (38), Maryborough (36), Mildura (36), Kilmore (34) and Cranbourne (30).

Moonee Valley will play host to one premier Saturday night meeting each month, including the sport's biggest meeting of the year on Saturday night, February 6, 2010 when the Sky Channel Nights Of Glory carnival culminates with the Hunter Cup and Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final.

"The calendar has been structured to maximise TAB turnover and market share, whilst providing a terrific balance of racing opportunities across the State for owners, trainers and drivers to compete in and for the public to enjoy," HRV Chairman, Neil Busse, said.

"Our primary source of revenue is TAB income which directly impacts upon prizemoney so it's critical that our racing calendar is structured to stimulate TAB wagering growth.

"We are indeed excited to release our 2009-10 calendar which heralds the beginning of a new era for the sport with racing to commence at the industry-owned Tabcorp Park where it will become a focal point on Friday nights for harness racing in Victoria.

"Tabcorp Park delivers a new revenue source to the industry and presents us with a unique opportunity to maximise non-wagering returns, hence the added importance of meetings being conducted at our new home.

"Next year will also see racing return to Hamilton after HRV, the Hamilton Club and the Southern Grampians Shire Council agreed to the funding of an upgrade of the racetrack to 1000 metres.

"Hamilton will host four meetings next financial year, commencing with their cup meeting on Sunday, February 28 and the club's new state-of-the-art track will be a welcome addition to the State's racing venues, particularly in the South West region."

Other highlights of the 2009-10 racing calendar are;

  • The Sky Channel Nights Of Glory again commences with the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on Saturday night, January 30, 2010
  • The 2009 Australasian Breeders Crown will take in four meetings at Tabcorp Park from August 9, culminating with nine Group 1 finals on Super Sunday, August 23
  • Sunday afternoon meeting at Tabcorp Park on March 7, 2010 to coincide with the running of the Watpac Inter Dominion Grand Final at Menangle
  • Another lucrative Country Cup Carnival commencing with the Nyah Cup on Saturday, October 17, 2009 and culminating with the Mildura Cup on Saturday, April 10, 2010
  • Huge Easter holiday weekend on April 3 and 4, 2010 with feature racing at Bendigo (Saturday night), Warragul (Sunday afternoon) and Echuca (Sunday twilight)
Shaun KELLY

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