The Melbourne spring carnival could be in for an unparalleled revamp with the possibility of a major date change for the G1 Caulfield Cup.
Administrators insist no decisions have yet been made on the future program, but it’s understood there is a radical proposal looking at the potential to run the 2400 metre feature after the G1 Melbourne Cup.
Any overhaul of dates is being undertaken due to the rescheduled AFL grand final, usually held on the last Saturday of September, but it has been pushed back after the coronavirus crisis suspended the normal season.
The AFL season will resume on June 11, with the grand final scheduled for October 24 with racing administrators keen to avoid a head-on clash.
The Racing Victoria board is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss programming proposals and a possible new-look spring carnival.
Cup move no issue
Melbourne Racing Club Chairman Peter Le Grand told RSN927 that he doesn’t believe moving the Caulfield Cup to a later date will diminish its quality or affect the Melbourne Cup.
“If you go back through the races, there haven't been too many Caulfield Cup winners in the last 15 to 16 years that have gone on to win the Melbourne Cup - it's not going to affect the race that much.
"There haven't been too many Caulfield Cup winners in the last 15 to 16 years that have gone on to win the Melbourne Cup - it's not going to affect the race that much. " - Peter Le Grand
"And we want this race (Caulfield Cup) to stand on its own as well. The Caulfield Cup is a very prestigious race and always has been and it'll stand on its own.”
Another potential change could see the G1 Cox Plate held at night for the first time in its 100th running if the AFL grand final remains in its day-time time slot.
“No decisions have been made as yet about the program for the 2020 spring racing carnival,” a Racing Victoria statement said. “As we have consistently stated, nothing is off the table at this time given the unprecedented circumstances of 2020. Equally, we have said that we do not need to make any decisions prior to June.
“The Melbourne Racing Club has already publicly stated its wish to move the Caulfield Cup Carnival to November as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, it is one of the many options under consideration.
“Together with our clubs and participant groups, we’ll be taking into consideration a range of matters including the likely COVID-19 restrictions, whether crowds are permitted or not, broadcast arrangements, wagering considerations and Victoria’s events calendar before making our final decisions on the 2020 spring racing carnival.”