On Sunday morning, Racing Victoria announced that Sale Turf Club had edged out rival country racecourses to land the state’s inaugural Good Friday race meeting on April 15, 2022.
The race day will feature a $1.4 million prizepool, with Racing Victoria announcing a $500,000 Stakes race, ‘The Country Discovery’. To be run under handicap conditions with a maximum weight of 61kg, the new 1100m event will be the richest sprint race in country Victoria.
The Country Discovery will become the marquee event for Good Friday racing in the state, with the meeting set to rotate annually through different tracks in country Victoria. The purpose of rotation is to encourage tourism within the area while also supporting the Good Friday Appeal.
Despite the announcement, a change is still required to the current Racing Act 1958, which forbids thoroughbred racing on Good Friday. A decision is expected to be made by the Victorian Government in regard to an amendment in early 2022.
The Good Friday meeting at Sale will consist of eight races, with the first event to jump no earlier than 1pm.
Among the races on the card will be the Country Oaks (2200m) – a $150,000 event for fillies and mares who are at least three years old.
The meeting will also include two $150,000 finals of a new Country Trainer Series – one a 1200m BM70, the other a 1500m BM70.
The Country Trainer Series will see exclusively Victorian trainers compete, with the trainers needing to have fewer than 50 metropolitan starters in the 2020-21 racing season and fewer than five metro winners in the same period.
Eligible horses will compete in heats throughout country Victoria in March and April, with potential runners needing to be in the care of an eligible trainer by January 1, 2022.
The Shooting Star – a Class 3 worth $150,000 over 1700m – will also be run on the day, with the race restricted to horses who have had fewer than 10 career starts.
2022 Sale Good Friday Racing Program:
- $500,000 The Country Discovery – 1100m Open Handicap
- $150,000 Country Oaks – 2200m 3YO & Up Fillies & Mares
- $150,000 Country Trainers Series Final – 1200m BM70
- $150,000 Country Trainers Series Final – 1500m BM70
- $150,000 The Shooting Star – 1700m Class 3
- $100,000 Good Friday Appeal Cup – 2200m BM64
- $100,000 Benchmark 64 – 1100m
- $100,000 Benchmark 64 – 1600m