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VRC and RV in talks over Oaks Day changes

A later start to Oaks Day with fewer races is being investigated by the Victoria Racing Club and Racing Victoria.

VRC chairman Amanda Elliott said the board was looking at a range of options for the meeting, the third day of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.

“This desire to do something different with Oaks Day has not come around because Oaks Day is in anyway bad or broken,” Elliott told RSN927.

“It’s more about evolution of the day, it’s something a little different, to perhaps have less racing and start a bit later.

“It would allow people to go to work in the morning and maybe do a fabulous afternoon at Flemington and go on into the evening.”

Elliott said a program of six or seven races could shorten the day with a possible 2pm start.

Paul Bloodworth, Racing Victoria’s General Manager of International and Racing Operations, has had discussions with the VRC’s Racing Manager Leigh Jordan.

He said RV was undertaking wagering analysis for the VRC on a reduced program.

“Our initial thought is that it will lead to a reduction in wagering turnover, but also in the end wagering is not everything,” Bloodworth said.

“If the VRC can build a new event around the day with changes to the way a normal race day is run during Cup week with a later start and less races, then we’d be happy to look at it.

“We’ve shown with the All Star Mile that we’re able to work with the clubs and build an event.”

Bloodworth said there was no immediate rush to make the changes, however a decision would have to be made by mid 2019.

He said Oaks day holds between $70 and $80 million in turnover which with less races could have an effect on that total that in turn could affect industry funding.

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