Racing Victoria (RV) has announced that the 2011 Spring Racing Carnival will officially commence with the first Group 1 of the racing season on Saturday, 17 September at Caulfield.
The Underwood Stakes (1800m) will headline day one of the famous Spring Racing Carnival and heralds eight consecutive weekends of Group 1 racing in Victoria.
Australia’s premier racing showpiece will feature 112 meetings across 65 action-packed days. It will again conclude with the Sportsbet.com Ballarat Cup meeting on Sunday, 20 November.
With the AFL Grand Final moving back one week to the first Saturday in October, several changes have been made to the Spring Racing Carnival program to enhance its structure.
The Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), Group 3 The Age Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) have been moved from Underwood Stakes Day to headline a new meeting on Saturday, 24 September at Caulfield.
The opening of the Moonee Valley night racing season retains its position on AFL Grand Final eve and thus will be held one week later than in 2010. It will showcase the Group 1 Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) on Friday night, 30 September.
The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) will spearhead Melbourne Cup Carnival Preview Day at Flemington on Sunday, 2 October – the same timeslot it was moved to in 2010 when the AFL Grand Final was replayed.
“The Spring Racing Carnival has traditionally commenced on the last Wednesday in September, but the change to the AFL season necessitated an evaluation of its timing and the structure of our race programs,” RV Chief Strategy Officer, Paul Bittar, said.
“Group 1 racing is the pinnacle of our sport and it was determined that the Spring Racing Carnival should encapsulate all 18 Group 1 races run in Victoria during the spring period. Thus the Carnival will officially begin on 17 September with Underwood Stakes Day at Caulfield.
“The changes to the start of the Spring Racing Carnival program optimise the flow of races at Caulfield in particular, with the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes now two weeks before the David Jones Toorak Handicap (Group 1, 1600m) and The Age Caulfield Guineas (Group 1, 1600m) now only a fortnight after the Prelude instead of three weeks.”
(Notes – The remainder of the Spring Racing Carnival program remains unchanged from 2010)