THE Group 1 WFA Doomben 10,000 will continue to be run at its traditional home Doomben racecourse, following Australian Pattern Committee and Asian Pattern Committee approval.
Racing Queensland (RQ) recently announced the $700,000 race will now be run over 1200m (previously 1350m) at Doomben on May 13, 2017 – a move from its previous date two weeks later.
RQ chief executive officer Dr Eliot Forbes said the organisation had proposed a number of changes to the Winter Carnival for 2017, including moving the May 27 Doomben race day to Eagle Farm.
“Feedback from a wide cross-section of industry stakeholders was a vital consideration in the final decision.
“We clearly listened to that feedback and maintained the status quo in terms of the venue for the Doomben 10,000, though we have moved the date on which it will be run,” he said.
Dr Forbes said to accommodate this change, the $700,000 Group One WFA BTC Cup would now be run over 1300m at Eagle Farm on May 27.
“Racing Queensland is keen to provide all horses with an opportunity to compete in the pivotal lead-in race over the ideal distance and at the same venue as the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 10.
“It is our view that we are now providing an optimal progression of race distances for the Group 1 races in the Doomben 10,000 at 1200m, the BTC Cup at 1300m and the Stradbroke Handicap at 1400m.
“Racing Queensland also believes the industry will benefit from increased wagering on these races while the Brisbane Racing Club will be able to maximise commercial opportunities over the three meetings,” he said.
Dr Forbes said RQ had also moved the Group 3 Fred Best Classic from Doomben on May 20 to Eagle Farm on May 27.
“The Fred Best Classic has attracted some of the best horses in Australia over recent seasons and we see enormous potential to develop the race further in the future.
“The switch provides the perfect programming solution to the three-week gap that previously existed between the strongly performing Fred Best Classic and the Stradbroke Handicap and Queensland Guineas,” he said.
Dr Forbes said the majority of the changes made were designed to take advantage of the State’s premier thoroughbred racing venue, Eagle Farm, returning to its full capacity in 2017.
Major changes to national Racing Calendar
AUSTRALIA’S racing calendar in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne is set for some major changes this coming winter and spring.
In Brisbane, the Group 1 WFA Doomben 10,000 will continue to be run at its traditional home Doomben racecourse but at a different distance and date during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. Sydney will see the introduction of the $10 million The Everest to be run at Randwick Racecourse for the first time on October 14 while in Melbourne the Caulfield Cup (2400m) could change from a handicap to weight-for-age event.
However, there are no plans to move the Melbourne Cup (3200m) now or in the future, with Victoria Racing Club (VRC) chairman Amanda Elliott dismissing media speculation of a move as unfounded and ill-informed.
“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is internationally recognised and considered one of the great racing carnivals of the world. I emphatically assure all Australians that the Melbourne Cup will continue to be run on the first Tuesday in November,” she said.
Melbourne Racing Club chairman Mike Symons told the Herald Sun that the dramatic change to the Caulfield Cup could happen as early as this year but was likely to come into effect for 2018, pending approval from the relevant pattern committees. Prizemoney is also expected to be lifted for the Caulfield Cup from $3 million to $4 million.
The reason for the shift from handicap to weight-for-age, where horses carry weight relative to their age and sex rather than handicap rating, would make the Caulfield Cup more appealing to international competitors. This would also allow the winner of the Caulfield Cup to be exempt from being re-handicapped for the Melbourne Cup.
"If we are going to increase international competition, we need to evolve. The distance (2400m) is internationally recognised as the elite distance for good horses but almost every other jurisdiction conducts those races at weight-for-age," Symons said.