Exciting changes to Victorian carnival

By Adam Hamilton

STAKEMONEY is up, key race dates have been changed and distances tinkered with to take Victoria’s Summer of Glory to a new level this season.

Harness Racing Victoria this week announced a raft of positive, some would say common-sense changes, to the three-night January/February Carnival now boasting almost $2 million in stakemoney.

The fixtures stay the same with Ballarat hosting night one (January 18), then two Melton Saturday nights (January 25 and February 1), but the key changes include:

 

  • Victoria Oaks heats and final being brought forward from later in the season to coincide with Victoria Derby series on nights one and two

 

  • Distances for the Oaks and Derby finals extended from 2240m to 2760m

 

  • $250,000 Great Southern Star moves to final night, alongside $500,000 Hunter Cup for a grand finale

 

“Overall it’s an amazing line-up of racing right across the three nights, kicking off with Ballarat Cup Night, featuring the Derby and Oaks heats, as well as the Cochran Trotters Cup and of course the $110,000 Ballarat Cup,” HRV General Manager of Racing Steve Bell said.

“Night two becomes ‘finals’ night with the $200,000 Victoria Derby and the $150,000 Victoria Oaks finals over the longer trip, plus we have the $100,000 Four-Year-Old Bonanza, the $50,000 Dullard Trotters Cup and the $50,000 Casey Classic.

“The third and final night will feature of course the $500,000 A.G. Hunter Cup, the $250,000 Great Southern Star and now the $100,000 Ladyship Cup for pacing mares.

“It will mean the Australasian trots spotlight will be on Victoria for this world-class carnival and we’re really excited by it.

“We’ve thrashed these changes out at length before moving the levers and feel they’re in the best interests of the TAB Summer of Glory.

“If you’re not innovating you’re going backwards. We’re keen to shake the product up a bit with some other big announcements in the not-too-distant future.”

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