Racing Victoria has used its veto to stop The Everest being given group 1 status and Racing NSW retaliated by vetoing any Victorian race from being lifted in group status, as both states have looked to impose their will on the other.
However, this review will not just be about the power states, but racing throughout the country.
It is generally accepted the pattern needs to be updated and Racing Australia would like to have a calendar that gives every state an opportunity to shine.
The review will be made up of a panel that represents every element of the industry. The review will be wide-ranging and the announcement comes at the end of a week of drama surrounding the Melbourne spring.
Coronavirus has given the sport the opportunity to review the spring dates, especially because the Victorian race dates for the 2020-21 season have not been announced.
Melbourne Racing Club floated the idea of moving its spring meetings from October to November after Melbourne Cup week. It would mean the meetings are taken away from the AFL’s trade week, which dominates the media down south at that time of year.
Hall of fame trainer Gai Waterhouse is in the traditionalist camp and believes it would be madness for the Melbourne spring to change. She blamed the expanded Sydney spring, orchestrated by Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys last year, for the move and labelled the Golden Eagle, the Golden Seagull in her attack.
Coronavirus restrictions, which could mean no crowds during the spring, are another reason for looking to shift meetings to later into the year.
It is understood there has not been any formal approach to Racing Victoria about moving the Caulfield carnival to November and many of the powerbrokers down south are disappointed it’s being played out in the public arena.
The Racing Victoria board will meet next week to ratify the race dates and discuss the idea of transferring meetings or races. However, under the rules any changes would need to be passed by Racing Australia’s pattern committee.
The Victoria Racing Club has made it clear it will not change the dates of the Melbourne Cup or any of its spring meetings.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald