Early start confirmed for Newmarket Handicap Day at Flemington

Newmarket Handicap Day will start at 10:45am AEDT. (Photo by Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) have jointly announced adjustments to Saturday’s Flemington meeting due to anticipated hot weather conditions.

Given the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast indicating a peak temperature of 39 degrees at Flemington later in the afternoon, the schedule for the eight-race program has been altered. Racing will now kick off at 10:45am AEDT, wrapping up by 2:30pm AEDT.

The Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) will now jump at 12:45pm AEDT.

Here’s the updated race schedule (all times are AEDT):

  • Race 1: 10:45 am
  • Race 2: 11:15 am
  • Race 3: 11:45 am
  • Race 4: 12:15 pm
  • Race 5: 12:45 pm (Group 1 Newmarket Handicap)
  • Race 6: 1:20 pm
  • Race 7: 1:55 pm
  • Race 8: 2:30 pm

The decision to commence early is rooted in safeguarding the welfare of horses and participants, aligning with RV’s Racing in Hot Weather Policy.

To minimise exposure to the heat, arrival times for horses competing in Races 1 and 2 have been reduced to 60 minutes, while horses in Races 3 to 8 will now have 90 minutes before their races (previously two and three hours, respectively). Additionally, the time allotted for pre-race parades has been shortened.

In a proactive measure, misting fans will be deployed to cool horses in designated areas, such as the float car park and pre-parade ring. Extra personnel will be stationed around the Mounting Yard to assist with post-race cooling efforts.

Furthermore, considering the weather conditions, dress regulations in the members’ enclosure have been temporarily amended, allowing for optional jackets and ties. This adjustment prioritises the comfort of members and their guests for this specific Saturday and does not indicate a permanent change to the dress code policy.

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