Racing NSW and Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V’landys has taken aim at the NSW government, accusing them of undermining the upcoming Everest horse race.
The state government is said to be looking at scheduling a Bruno Mars concert at the soon-to-be reopened Sydney Football Stadium on the same day as The Everest is run.
The race, which was V’landys’ brainchild and offers $15 million in prize money, will be run at the nearby Royal Randwick and is set to take place on October 15.
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Speaking to 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Friday, V’landys said the decision would “take the gloss off both events”.
“Why would you divide Sydney into deciding where to go? We’ve worked very hard to bring an event to Sydney, it’s a homegrown event. We’ve established it, we’ve got interstate visitors, international visitors,” he said.
“Why would you undermine it by putting a one-off pop concert down the road? It’s beyond comprehension. I thought when they told me it must have been the first of April.
“I just could not believe it.”
V’landys claimed a younger generation of punters attend The Everest and both the race and Mars’ concert would be appealing to the “same market”.
“The Everest attracts the younger generation, we’re very proud that we’ve got an event for 20 to 35-year-olds, and they’re the same people that will go to Bruno Mars,” he said.
“Also, I don’t know if you’ve seen the road infrastructure in Moore Park and the eastern suburbs of Sydney, it can’t handle all those people in cars. Where are they going to park? It will be traffic chaos.
“It will take the gloss off both events. Why wouldn’t you do it the week before or the week after? They’re both vacant weekends with no competition.
“You would never see the Victorian government put a pop concert (against) the AFL grand final. It makes no commercial sense. It’s not good for NSW taxpayers.”
However, many pundits couldn’t believe V’landys was so outraged and argued his concerns were completely unjustified.
Zero Tackle’s Jake Benoiton tweeted: “I’m almost certain the people going to The Everest, aren’t the same people going to a Bruno Mars concert.”
Sports reporter Phil Lutton joked: “Bruno Mars HATES the six-again rule.”
Jack Fitzpatrick added: “He created The Everest as a disruptor to the Victorian spring carnival – which he had every right to do. And, undoubtedly, it’s been an overwhelming success.
“But you can’t then complain when something clashes with what you conceptualised to already clash with something else.”