Racing NSW and Racing Victoria might have had all the goodwill in the world to change the race times for The Everest and Caulfield Guineas meetings but once again neither would blink to make it happen.
Instead punters will have only 15 minutes between the $10 million Everest and $2 million Caulfield Guineas on Saturday, when the eyes of the sporting public are almost exclusively on racing.
It is a disappointing result for a sport that remains divided along state lines. It might affect the bottom line for the day, which the TAB is expecting to break records and be behind only Melbourne Cup day in terms of turnover.
It took free-to-air provider Channel Seven to make the two regulators aware of the packed schedule last Friday and it took until Tuesday afternoon for any changes to be made certain.
Offer and counter-offer were made, but no agreement could be struck and the times, which had been in place for many months, stand.
“Unfortunately they wouldn’t change their times. We tried and they were set on what they wanted and we couldn’t accommodate it,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said. “We didn’t want to reduce the lead in to The Everest to help Pakenham. [But] I don’t think it’s going to cause too much grief.
“We put an olive branch out to Racing Victoria and Mike Symons, to his credit, rang me. But we couldn’t get through the others.
“I’m not too concerned about it and don’t think it’s going to make too much difference.”
Racing NSW’s Scott Kennedy had worked on the schedule, which would have changed several meeting times to secure The Everest clear air in the lead-up, but it was rejected by Racing Victoria. Melbourne Racing Club racing manager Jake Norton concurred with V’landys’ view that the race day was still outstanding, but conceded there are challenges to maximising wagering turnover.
“We still have two great meetings and the times isn’t that big of an issue,” he said. “We have always thought The Everest was going to make Caulfield Guineas a better day and we are expecting more through the gate at Caulfield because of the great racing at both tracks.
“The problem with the 15-minute gap is that it makes it harder for punters to have bet.”
Racing Victoria confirmed its proposal had Pakenham swapping times with Randwick for Saturday, a change they stated would have affected the quality of the coverage on its joint venture TV channel, racing.com.
“It’s disappointing that an agreement couldn’t be reached between the two states on late changes to the established race times for this Saturday,” Racing Victoria general manager of communications Shaun Kelly said.
“Victoria made an offer to NSW for both to change race times at a meeting in their state to facilitate a 20-minute gap between The Everest and Caulfield Guineas, one that would not impact on race times in any other state, but this was unfortunately declined by NSW.”
It is the finger pointing that racing has become used to between the two major states.
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