Racing Victoria has announced a change of dates it says will provide a smoother build-up for this year’s Cox Plate contenders.

The Group I Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and Underwood Stakes (1800m) were run a week apart last year but the Melbourne Racing Club and RV agreed to move the Underwood Stakes back a week to produce a logical distance progression.

The Makybe Diva Stakes will be run at Flemington on September 12 while Caulfield will now host the Underwood Stakes on September 26.

The decision, which has been approved by the Asian and Australian Pattern Committees, means horses have the following weight-for-age program towards the Cox Plate.

• 29 August 2015 – G1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes, Caulfield – 1400m
• 12 September 2015 – G1 Makybe Diva Stakes, Flemington – 1600m
• 26 September 2015 – G1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes, Caulfield – 1800m
• 10 October 2015 – G1 Caulfield Stakes, Caulfield – 2000m
• 24 October 2015 – G1 William Hill Cox Plate, Moonee Valley – 2040m

Meanwhile, the spring sprint program has also been adjusted with the Group I Moir Stakes reverting to its previous distance of 1000m after being run over 1200m for the past eight editions.

The Moir Stakes will be run at Moonee Valley on October 2 while the Melbourne Racing Club has adjusted the distance of the Group II Schillaci Stakes from 1000m to 1100m.

The changes produce the following program for sprinters in the lead-up to the Group I Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington in November.

• 2 October 2015 – G1 City Jeep Moir Stakes, Moonee Valley – 1000m (changes from 1200m)
• 10 October 2015 – G2 Schillaci Stakes, Caulfield – 1100m (changes from 1000m)
• 23 October 2015 – G1 William Hill Manikato Stakes, Moonee Valley – 1200m (no change)
• 7 November 2015 – G1 Darley Classic, Flemington – 1200m (no change)

Brad Waters