The Ballarat Cup will retain its place on the Victorian racing calendar in late November and its status as the last major event of the spring carnival.
The cup meeting faced the prospect of being pushed back and becoming an early summer race day if the Melbourne Racing Club had been successful in having the Caulfield Cup Carnival rescheduled to late November.
Ballarat Turf Club welcomed Racing Victoria's decision on Friday to keep the traditional spring racing carnival dates, with the Caulfield Cup leading into the WS Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup Carnivals.
The Sportsbet Ballarat Cup will be run on Saturday, November 21, with metropolitan class status.
BTC chief executive officer Belinda Glass said it was great news. "We're rapt."
She said it was an important outcome - the best result for the club, including members, and all stakeholders and partners.
Glass said it provided certainty in what had been and continued to be a challenging year for the club and racing industry.
She said the club was grateful for the extensive consulation process undertaken by Racing Victoria.
The BTC was determined to keep what is now its traditional place in the spring carnival - a week after the Zipping Classic at Sandown, which is the last day of the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
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The Ballarat Cup will remain in its traditional timeslot at the end the Victorian Spring Carnival.
Racing Victoria has rejected a Melbourne Racing Club bid to move the Caulfield Cup Carnival to late November - a shift which would have forced the Sportsbet Ballarat Cup to be moved.
The Ballarat Cup will be run on Saturday, November 21, as a standalone metropolitan class meeting.
Ballarat Turf Club, with the support of Country Racing Victoria, lobbied to retain its place on the calendar the week after Zipping Classic at Sandown - the last day of the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The RV board decided on Friday that the existing feature race program and traditional dates would be retained for this year's spring carnival.
The primary options under consideration were a retention of the existing structure and dates; a movement of the entire spring carnival back by up to one month; or a major restructure of the feature race program to run the Caulfield Cup Carnival at the conclusion of the the carnival.
A Racing Victoria media release on Friday afternoon stated:
The RV board and executive received and considered submissions and feedback from Country Racing Victoria, the three metropolitan racing clubs, stakeholder associations, wagering service providers, media partners, key trainers and owners, racing fans and punters, as well as advice from the Victorian Government on the potential for crowds and the likely restrictions come spring.
Among the key areas of focus were the unclear timeline for the easing of social restrictions and the potential for large gatherings; key commercial and media partnerships; both the local and national pattern of feature races; the need to maintain an exceptional standard of racing; expected clashes with other delayed competitions and events; potential competition for the wagering dollar and possible impacts on publicity and media coverage.
Having considered the submissions and feedback, which were varied and not definitive, and acting upon all the information available at this time, the Board ultimately determined that it is in the best overall interests of Victorian and Australian racing that the established program and dates be retained for 2020.
RV chairman Brian Kruger said: "The board has today determined that retaining the existing feature race program and traditional dates for the 2020 spring racing carnival is in the best overall interests of Victorian and Australian racing.
"I want to thank all of our stakeholders and partners who provided submissions for the Board's consideration and whilst their views were varied, all were united in wanting to see the Spring Racing Carnival remain a global racing icon.
"The carnival is one of the world's most successful racing events and an incredible asset for the state of Victoria. The board has been heartened to see the passion that has existed for it both from within our industry and the wider community in commentary over recent weeks over its best structure and timing for 2020," he said.
Kruger said In making its decision, the board agreed that any case for major change owing to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic did not provide compelling outcomes with enough certainty to outweigh the benefits of retaining the existing structure, particularly when racing on mainland Australia has continued throughout the pandemic.
"While the potential for crowds has been central to the debate, whether we can have crowds during the carnival is unknown at this stage - we will be guided by the directions of the chief health officer, as we have throughout the pandemic.
"Understanding that the situation will continue to evolve, the road to spring glory starts in June for the vast majority of our elite horses and that's why we owed it to owners and trainers to make this decision now.
"Our core product is racing and we need to ensure that we continue to attract the very best horses, trainers and jockeys, where restrictions allow, to Victoria for our feature races. We noted that the Australian Trainers Association and Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association both supported the retention of our existing program," he said.
"We considered the potential impacts on our festival of racing in February and March 2021 and whether a later carnival would encourage horses to bypass races here in late summer, early autumn to pursue later opportunities interstate.
"The current pathways and grand finals of the spring racing carnival are well understood, and we believe retaining that existing structure this year will give us the best opportunity for outstanding fields and broad support, both from local and out-of-state competitors.
"Equally, racing fans want to see the very best compete against one another and we know that the spring carnival is Australia's leading wagering product having been warmly supported by punters in its current format for many years.
"Wagering is the industry's key source of revenue and while the opinions from wagering operators varied, our analysis indicated that any potential uplift would not be material and comes with downside risk.
"The challenge for publicity and media coverage from additional competition throughout October is a real one, but we were ultimately of the opinion that it couldn't be the primary driver for change in a year in which uncertainty still abounds.
"We are looking forward with optimism at the spotlight that sport will receive in the media landscape this spring and in the knowledge that we have great media partners, in addition to guaranteed free-to-air broadcasts, to showcase our premier races.
"In making its decision today, the RV board looks forward to all within the industry working together to ensure that the 2020 spring racing carnival is the best that it can possibly be in a unique and compromised year," Kruger said.