Racing Victoria CEO backs expert advice that the Melbourne Racing Club should create a second inside track at Caulfield

Racing Victoria CEO backs expert advice that the Melbourne Racing Club should create a second inside track at Caulfield

Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson said the governing body backs expert advice that the Melbourne Racing Club should create a second, inside track and is confident it will provide a fairer racing surface than one larger track.

Key participants – including leading trainers and jockeys – have voiced their opposition to a second, inside track at Caulfield due to concerns about the quality of racing it will produce as well as safety concerns.

 


Contact Us – 0415 078 787 – Email 

 

But Thompson said while the voices of participants are important, the administrative body remains supportive of the MRC’s inner track proposal which will also provide the ability for the club to hold night racing.

Crucially, he also ruled out spending millions of dollars of the industry’s future fund on a single, large Caulfield track, making it very unlikely there will be a last minute change of heart from the MRC.

The club have said if they went down a single-track route, they would need close to $25 million in investment from the fund.

 

 

Thompson told Racing.com that RV remains supportive of an inner track, explaining that track experts employed by the MRC clearly believe it will provide for a better racing surface.

“Are we supportive of a new track on the inside of the main track? yes, we are,” Thompson said.

“The simple answer is not utilising the space doesn’t make sense, keeping it as an ambulance track just simply doesn’t make sense.

“With the removal of training … do we want to be taking the opportunity for a second inside the existing track? Of course we do.

 

 

“We take it as a great opportunity because it will deliver the industry a great asset on currently on a piece of land that is not used.”

The outgoing CEO was present at a sometimes-feisty meeting with the MRC, jockeys and trainers on Wednesday.

Thompson said the MRC is currently undergoing “once in a generation” redevelopment and backed key track expert analysis the club is relying on to build a second, smaller track.

On the debate of one large track versus an inner track under lights, Thompson backed the MRC’s process.

 

 

 

“The experts are saying that the best track we can have, bearing in mind the radius we have, bearing in mind the geographic restraints at the Heath, we think two smaller tracks will work better and race better than one big one,” he said.

 

 

Thompson said this advice was based on several factors, from maintenance to how the track would likely race.

He said the track experts also believe the use of boom watering, needed for one larger track, would create lanes and unfair racing. The club have also been vocal saying the upkeep cost of two tracks will be less than one larger track.

Thompson said despite support for the MRC, he recognises concerns raised by key participants regarding the MRC’s plans.

 

 

He also said while the views of prominent racing identities and participants are important, they cannot be the “sole arbiter” of the argument.

“Quite righty, the participants are saying we are worried about a leader’s track, a bias, they are worried about safety, about crossings and it’s important we listen, especially regarding safety,” he said.

“It’s vital we listen to their concerns, especially about safety.”

Racing.com has previously reported plans to heavily utilise night racing under new lights at Caulfield when Moonee Valley undergoes considerable redevelopment in 2024.

RV plans to run its metropolitan night meetings, previously held at the Valley, at Caulfield instead of Pakenham or Cranbourne, due to wagering concerns.

“[A new track at Caulfield] can clearly provide value when The Valley shuts down and support the schedule. And when the Valley reopens … it will also its another grass track in the state and in the metro area.”

 

“At the meeting yesterday, there were administrators … there were track managers and then there are those who ride the horses and who prepare horses who run on those tracks,” he said.

“I think broadly we do an ok job of getting around and talking to these groups and making sure everyone has their say.”

 

Asked whether the MRC could do a better job communicating to participants and members, a key criticism this week, Thompson said it was important to recognise the scale of the projects.

“My assessment of that is that the club is doing some major pieces of work, they are completing once in generation, maybe once in two generation, and that change is very difficult,” he said.

“Could they do more? That’s a question for them and perhaps no matter how much they do, there will be many who will say they haven’t enough.”