In a considerable departure from the racing schedule, Racing Victoria have announced they will be trialling “race-free” Mondays in 2018.
From January 15 until March 19 next year, there will be no racing held in Victoria on Mondays: there won’t even be trials, with the current Monday trials at Cranbourne to be moved to later in the week.
The move is designed to give industry participants a “day off” (from attending the racetrack, at least), which is hoped will assist with better managing the enormous workloads that jockeys, trainers and stable staff undertake.
The overall volume of racing will not decrease however, with a second meeting now to be held on Wednesdays alongside the traditional mid-week metro meeting.
The second Wednesday meeting will be held in a twilight time-slot, taking advantage of daylight saving and perhaps offering a more punter-friendly offering for midweek racing.
“Participants get a day off and we think that it’s a better way to increase betting turnover by moving these Monday meetings to a twilight date on a Wednesday,” said RVL Racing Operations Manager Paul Bloodworth.
“Our information suggests the twilight meeting on a Wednesday has the potential to produce greater turnover than a Monday meeting,” Bloodworth added.
“We are viewing it as a trial – as a test case to see what comes of it.”
Indications are that they’re be a Wednesday meeting starting at 12:30pm and concluding at 4:00pm, followed by a twilight meeting beginning at 4.15 and running through to 7.15. Both will be run with 30-minute gaps between races. Ballarat, Bendigo and Sandown have been touted as possible venues for the twilight meeting.
Although strictly a trial, it’s a positive move from Racing Victoria and once which hopefully signals the beginning of a shift away from midweek metro racing being held exclusively during the day: a time which many punters are otherwise engaged.
Like Test cricket, holding your event at a time when most people are actually available to watch it can only be a good thing for the sport.