Delay likely for Victoria Cup
By Adam Hamilton
Victoria’s second wave of COVID is likely to see the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup pushed back.
HRV’s GM of Racing Stephen Bell described Victoria’s upcoming feature race dates as “a moving feast, which could change by the day” after the state reported a record-high 317 new COVID cases today (Thursday).
“We had our big mares’ races coming up soon, but they will all be pushed back and we’ll confirm some new dates soon,” he said.
“I’d compare our feature race dates for the back half of this year to the AFL (Aussies rules fixture) … it’s a moving feast.”
Asked specifically about the Victoria Cup, which is Australia’s first big open-class feature on the horizon and shaping as a fantastic field, Bell said a date change was on the cards.
“I’ll say this, we will do everything we can make sure the Victoria Cup attracts the best possible field and is a great race. If that means changing the date, we’ll do that,” he said.
HRV will have to consider the new timeslots of WA’s two major races, the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups, to November 20 and early December 4 respectively.
Additionally, Queensland has locked-in December 12 for the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park.
Essentially, HRV’s window for the a revised Victoria Cup date is up to November 14 and anything beyond December 18.
Bell’s comments came off the back of Harness Racing NSW re-introducing regionalized racing from midnight Sunday owing to new COVID concerns in the state.
“HRNSW is extremely mindful of the impact that the return to regionalisation will have upon individual participants, however, this precautionary measure is once again being adopted to protect the NSW harness racing industry and the livelihood of participants,” HRNSW’s media release stated.