This Melbourne Cup Day at Yarra Valley harness racing is going green.
Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) in conjunction with Yarra Valley and the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) last night revealed that, for the first time in over 16 years, the trots will be racing on the grass gallops track.
HRV Racing General Manager Steve Bell appeared exclusively on Sky Racing’s In the Gig to break the news.
Two trotting races will be conducted in front of a predicted 5000-strong crowd, both standing start events bringing the action closer to the fans than ever before.
“This is what Melbourne Cup Day at Yarra Valley is all about – exciting harness racing for families and fans, showcasing our great sport to the masses,” Bell said.
“Harness racing has to constantly evolve. We’ve had grass track racing before, but we’ve identified an opportunity for a new, improved version of it on one of the sport’s premier days in terms of entertaining a big crowd.
The throwback to a favourite of times past has struck a positive chord with industry participants and VTDA president Lance Justice lauded the announcement.
“We’ve worked closely on this one with HRV and Yarra Valley and we think it’s a wonderful idea,” Justice said.
“We’re confident it will be a great spectacle. They run these races all the time in New Zealand and we used to have them here.
“Ultimately what the Trainers and Drivers Association would like to see would be a harness race on the grass at Flemington on Cup Day. Anything that can promote like this we’re right behind.”
Local trainer Peter Goudie agreed.
“I support this initiative 100 per cent. We loved it years ago and we’re so happy to see it back again. It will be a marvellous spectacle,” he said.
For trivia buffs, the last grass track race to be conducted in Victoria was the Fox Plate at Moonee Valley in February 2003. It was won by Trappers Salute for trainer Gary Bailey and driver Jodi Quinlan (pictured).
Source, Images & More: https://www.thetrots.com.au/