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Price urges Derby break with tradition

Trainer Mick Price believes the Victoria Racing Club will eventually break with tradition and cut the distance of the Victoria Derby.

Price, who won his first Victoria Derby last year with Tarzino, has again called on officials to slash the Flemington Classic’s distance by 500m to protect the longevity of Australia’s young stayers.

“The VRC are a progressive enough club that they will look at it,” Price said.

‘”They’re not scared to move a race and break tradition. I think in time it will probably come.”

The $1.5 million Derby is one of the world’s oldest races, but the 2500m is a query for every runner as the Classic offers the first chance for three-year-olds to be tested at the distance.

Price argues a 2000m Derby is still a big test.

“As a horse trainer and as a person responsible for other people’s horses and the longevity of them, what is the best thing as a compromise between the quality of the race – 2000m is still a big test of stamina for a spring three-year-old.”

VRC chief executive Simon Love said the club would consider a change.

“We always look at the race program and if a race isn’t working for whatever particular reason we’ll discuss changing it.”

The VRC this year moved the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) from the first day of the Melbourne Cup carnival to the final day, doubling the prize money to $2 million and renaming it the Emirates Stakes.

It switched places with the original 1600m-race of that name which is now the Cantala Stakes on Derby Day.

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