Spring carnival changes to suit The Valley

Moonee Valley Racing Club Chief Executive Michael Browell
Moonee Valley Racing Club CEO Michael Browell says spring carnival changes could benefit the club.

The Moonee Valley Racing Club could become the beneficiary if the Caulfield Cup is moved and run after the Melbourne Cup.

Melbourne’s spring carnival could be in for a shake up after the Melbourne Racing Club announced it was exploring running their three-day carnival at the conclusion of Melbourne Cup week.

The Caulfield carnival currently holds a mid-October date, but the club is looking to hold the Caulfield Cup on November 28.

Any programming changes will not be announced by Racing Victoria until next month.

However, Moonee Valley chief executive Michael Browell said any move may enable his club to take over the Caulfield Cup date, this year October 17, providing a two-day carnival on successive Saturdays.

Currently The Valley runs the Manikato Stakes meeting on the Friday night preceding their biggest meeting of the year, the Cox Plate, which is this year slated to clash with the AFL Grand Final on October 24.

“When we created our two-day carnival eight or nine years ago, we went with the Friday and Saturday double header simply because there wasn’t another Saturday through that key spring period,” Browell told RSN.

“Now that Caulfield is looking to shift out and have those feature Saturday’s post-Flemington, Moonee Valley would love to explore the opportunity to have two consecutive Saturdays, which would be October 17 and October 24 this year.

“That would give our track the best chance to recover and maximise wagering opportunities.

“Nothing is confirmed at this stage. There will be more work to be done on this over the next couple of weeks.”

If the changes go ahead The Valley may look at moving the Moonee Valley Gold Cup from Cox Plate day and reverting it to handicap conditions.

The Valley may look at moving the Feehan Stakes to either Friday September 25 or the following day, offering the winner a ballot exemption into the Cox Plate.

The club also wants to host a night meeting on October 9 which may see the Bill Stutt Stakes renamed as the Moonee Valley Guineas, providing the winner a possible ballot exemption.

“If ever there is a year to trial this, obviously with the COVID-19 impact, now would be the time to do it,” Browell said.

“It gives us the opportunity to be creative, to be innovative and whether we tweak current races or create new races to plug potential gaps, it’s an exciting opportunity.”