“I’m not going to tell the VRC what to do with their iconic Melbourne Cup day, it’s not my business. But if we want to all sit down and talk about it, we’re happy to do that.”
Le Grand said tradition should be factored into any scheduling decisions, but racing must also look at ways to innovate and capture the attention of the general public.
“I think you’ve got to hold some of your tradition but you’ve also got to be innovative,” he said.
“If you just stand still and live in the past, you’ll just go nowhere. You have to be innovative and find new ideas of ways to entertain people.
“To move the Melbourne Cup would be a major decision but if all clubs came to an agreement and had a discussion, then so be it. It might be the second Tuesday in November, it might be the third, but it’s not for me to call it.
“You can’t sit back and just say, ‘I’m going to ignore change.’ Change is going to happen whether they like it or not.”
Attendance at Caulfield on Underwood Stakes day – the Sunday following the AFL grand final – was no doubt disappointing at 6435, and the club’s Caulfield Cup carnival which starts Saturday is fighting with the AFL trade period for media space.
There are also a number of weeks in November following the Melbourne Cup carnival that industry participants, such as Le Grand and V’Landys, believe should be better utilised by racing.
“We probably are a little bit cramped with our three days of racing,” Le Grand said.
“Coming out of the grand final has been mentioned as being difficult.
“We certainly have to crank it up straight after the grand final and maybe if we had a little bit of space it could help, but I don’t want to commit to anything like that until we’ve sat down and have a discussion about it.”
Le Grand said he would welcome a chat with Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger.
“We’ll talk to Brian Kruger, we’ll talk to Amanda [Elliott]. I’ve got a good relationship with Amanda and the VRC so we’re not going to criticise the VRC and try and take their days,” he said.
“We don’t have to adjust it for NSW, but we can adjust it for the racegoer and for the people to make the whole of racing better.
“If Brian Kruger wants to talk to Josh and I, maybe that’ll be the initial discussion of it.
“We’ve got a great relationship with the three clubs so I can’t see why we can’t sit down as grown-ups and talk about it. That’s not saying anybody has to make a decision to change; why not sit down and talk about it?”
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.