The first of these is removing early entry dates for all Flemington Group 1 races except the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
The second key change is allowing non-Flemington trained horses to jump out at Australia’s premier race track under a set of specific conditions.
Previously, entries for the Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) and the Kennedy Oaks (2500m) closed in early October while the three Flemington Racing Spectacular features – the Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m), the TAB Australian Cup (2000m) and the Australian Guineas (1600m) – all saw nominations close in January.
Those early entry periods will no longer apply, however this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup entries will still close on Tuesday 2 August and follow a traditional acceptance path through to the first Tuesday in November.
From 1 August, access to jump outs at Flemington will be granted for horses trained away from Flemington in order to provide straight track experience ahead of the VRC’s sprinting features.
Horses that have not raced or jumped out down the Flemington straight will be eligible, as long as they are nominated for one or more of Flemington's Group 1 sprints - the Coolmore Stud Stakes, Darley Sprint Classic, Black Caviar Lightning and Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap.
If a horse jumps out and then does not accept for the relevant Group 1 event, a fee will apply.
The straight track will also be open to two-year-olds not trained at Flemington who are nominated for the Darley Maribyrnong Trial Stakes, with the VRC to put on two heats to cater for these particular horses.
VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon commented on the two changes.
“Removing early entry dates is designed to improve the nominations process for trainers,” Mr Jordon said.
“It allows trainers to target feature races without fear of missing early entry deadlines and it will hopefully ensure that we get the most in-form horses entering those races at Flemington.
“The VRC believes removal of early nominations will be welcomed by trainers, as will the opening of jump outs to outside trained horses.
“We listened to feedback and want to ensure the safest possible racing conditions at Flemington which is why we will now permit eligible, non-Flemington trained horses to jump out and familiarize themselves with the unique Flemington straight track.”
Source:Victoria Racing Club