Ballarat Turf Club is set to race just once more on its home circuit before November’s cup program.
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Racing Victoria has advised that the raceday scheduled for Tuesday, October 18 has been swapped with the Stawell meeting on Monday, November 21.
This news follows three meetings that were shifted away from Ballarat to other venues following the Grand National Steeplechase card on August 21.
A media release from RV states the decision to move the October 18 meeting was made in consultation with the BTC and Stawell Racing Club and to allow the Ballarat surface the opportunity to best overcome the effects of recent heavy rainfall. It also gives trainers in the Wimmera region an ability to race locally this month following Tuesday’s abandoned meeting at Stawell.
BTC chief executive Lachlan McKenzie told The Courier late last month he was confident both the October 18 and October 31 racedays would go ahead at the track as planned, but admitted it needed to be “ultra conservative” to ensure there isn’t any issues for its feature day.
McKenzie reaffirmed that there is no concerns over the club’s ability to host the Ballarat Cup meeting next month.
“We were extremely confident prior to this announcement and this gives us even further confidence as it means there will be only one race meeting on the track before Ballarat Cup day,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie said part of the workload on the course proper will include three sets of jump-outs for horses to qualify for the Clockwise 2yo Classic, which is run as part of the cup day program.
The swap means the BTC will race again just two days after the cup.
RV racing operations manager Paul Bloodworth said the swap was designed to be beneficial to both clubs.
“Ballarat has endured a particularly wet winter and early spring period, and will benefit from additional time before racing returns to the venue,” Bloodworth said.
“As a result of consistent rain and cold weather in the region, the track has not had adequate time to regenerate in preparation for their programmed spring racing carnival meetings.
“By allowing the track further time to regenerate, we are able to ensure that the meetings programmed on Monday, October 31 as well as the standalone cup meeting on Saturday, November 19 can proceed.
“To this end, we have added a 1600m benchmark 58 to the program to cater to those runners affected by Tuesday’s abandonment.”
BTC reports that the track has endured its wettest winter in 23 years during 2016, with the 183mm of rain recorded in September the highest on record for this month.
Since the club hosted the Grand National Steeplechase in August, it has received a total of 245mm of rain, while recording just three days over 15 degrees.
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