The Victoria Racing Club, host of the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington, is against wholesale changes to spring carnival programming including the controversial proposal to move the Cox Plate to late November.

Racing Victoria is considering reshaping the Melbourne spring carnival format but it needs the willingness and co-operation of the three city race clubs to alter carnival programming.

Tradition has been the bedrock of the Melbourne spring with the Melbourne Cup run on the first Tuesday in November but recent improvements to the Sydney spring carnival with the introduction of The Everest, Golden Eagle and other new races including The Hunter, The Gong and The Ingham has demonstrated there is an appetite for feature racing right through November into early December.

The revamped and expanded Sydney spring carnival has resulted in significant wagering turnover increases and attracted a new, younger audience to the sport, so it is understandable Racing NSW is continuing to explore further opportunities to exploit this growing market.

Racing Victoria has also identified November as a potential growth area and is looking at various race programming suggestions including moving the Cox Plate.

If the Cox Plate is moved to after the Melbourne Cup, then it would be extremely unlikely any horse could complete the famous double and emulate greats like Makybe Diva (2003), Saintly (1996), Rising Fast (1954) and Phar Lap (1930).

The late November Cox Plate proposal would also reduce the chances of the international competition competing at Moonee Valley as there are big-race alternatives in the northern hemisphere including the Japan Cup, US Breeders Cup and Hong Kong International meetings held in November and early December.

There are also concerns if the elite weight-for-age horses are still racing deep into November it would means they won’t get much of a summer spell before autumn.


English maestro William Haggas is planning to bring a team of four horses to the Sydney autumn carnival.

Haggas, who prepared the “British Bulldog” Addeybb to win successive Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick in 2020-21, has revealed Group 2 winners Dubai Honour and Purpleplay, and classy duo Protagonist and Earl Of Tyrone will go into quarantine on February 9 before being sent to Sydney.

Protagonist and Earl Of Tyrone have been purchased by Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell’s Australian Bloodstock team.


The Cody Morgan-trained Satay Chicken landed one of the biggest betting plunges on a NSW country race in many years when he romped home at Tamworth on Thursday.

Satay Chicken, raced by Australian Bloodstock, opened at $2.15 with TAB Fixed Odds on Tuesday when one punter invested $20,000 at those odds.

The money kept coming for Satay Chicken including $3,000 at $1.70, $2,000 at $1.70 multiple times, $2,250 at $1.40, $1,847 at $1.40 and $1,400 at $1.40. He commanded 77 per cent of the entire hold on the race.

Satay Chicken never looked like losing with the only concern coming at Sky Racing’s Frenchs Forest headquarters when a technical glitch meant they could not take on-course broadcaster Rod Fuller’s call of the race.

Sky Racing’s presenter Andrew Martin showed his versatility and didn’t miss a beat with an accurate nationwide call of Satay Chicken’s win.


The Listed Carrington Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday is the start of 14 consecutive weeks of stakes racing at Sydney Saturday meetings.

Over the next three months, there will be 22 Group 1 races contested on Sydney racetracks starting with the Chipping Norton Stakes-Surround Stakes race day on February 25.

The Sydney Saturday streak of consecutive stakes meetings ends with the Hawkesbury stand-alone race day on April 22.

Originally published as Racing Victoria is keen to reshape the Victorian spring and possibly push Cox Plate back to November

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