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Racing Victoria’s Revamped Racing Calendar

Racing Victoria’s Revamped Racing Calendar

Racing Victoria is set to programme two Good Friday meetings and move the Pakenham Cup to a Thursday night as part of a revamped racing calendar.

RV released their new look programme on Monday morning, with a suite of changes across Spring already well known, most notably shifting the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield to mid-November and pushing the Cranbourne Cup back one week.

No prize money details for the scheduled races were released, with revealing last week a likely reduction across the industry, including bonuses.



There are no uplifts in the number of twilight and night meetings scheduled and no racing has been locked in for Caulfield’s new inner track, but that is expected to start racing towards mid-2024, with transfers from other tracks possible

Under the new look calendar, Yarra Valley will host Good Friday racing as part of its rotation – before Cranbourne holds a night time meeting. The Good Friday double header comes in just the third year racing has been able to operate on the day.

The Pakenham Cup, squeezed out of the Spring following changes already announced by RV, will now run on Thursday night in the Autumn, which according to RV is “to further build upon the tremendous growth and success of Thursday night racing at Sportsbet-Pakenham”.




Key details of the Cranbourne Cup day are still being worked through, which is run a week later on November 25. understands a number of new and bold initiatives have been proposed for the day, including new races and prize money boosts.

Other important elements of the announcement include:

  • As previously foreshadowed by, the Geelong Racing Club will host a standalone metropolitan Saturday meeting on 6 January, with RV keen to capitalise on tourists holidaying in the region;
  • The VRC’s Rapid Racing will shift from January to December 20, to “provide an opportunity for new fan engagement in the lead-up to Christmas”
  • As previously reported, the Thousand Guineas and the Rupert Clark Stakes will move to November 18;
  • There will be one extra meeting in total over the season – 555 in total – which includes 113 metropolitan, 391 country TAB, 18 country non-TAB, and 33 picnic race meetings;
  • There will be 14 non-race days across the calendar;
  • There are no additional Sunday metro meetings, with just one scheduled for the calendar;
  • Caulfield are set for Thursday twilight racing in December;
  • The Pakenham Synthetic Finals will be held on September 1, the day before the Memsie Stakes, in move RV hopes will capitalise on the AFL bye weekend.



RVs general manager of racing Matthew Welsh said the influx of tourists to coastal towns around Geelong, including Torquay and the surrounding peninsula,

“Geelong is a superb racetrack that gives every horse its chance and on the back of a most successful 2022 Cup Day meeting we have great confidence they will deliver an outstanding meeting on January 6,” he said.

Welsh said RV may make further changes to programming as the sports wagering continues to decline.

“The Racing Operations team continues to look at how we maximise race dates and programming to ensure we maximise audience, wagering turnover and ultimately returns to participants,” he said.

Welsh said moving the Pakenham Cup to a Thursday allows the club to “use lead-up meetings to promote a Grand Final meeting at the end of February prior to the AFL season commencing”.

“Thursday nights are a premium timeslot that will only grow in coming years, so it’s important to put forward a compelling offering to fans and punters which Pakenham will do, particularly through summer,” he said.