The controversy over Saturday race times is set to continue after Racing Victoria announced it would extend a trial of 30-minute gaps between races for another week.
Punters at home were left scrambling for their remote controls while others in pubs and clubs missed Melbourne races altogether when Sky Racing bumped most of last Saturday’s Caulfield card to Sky 2.
Races from Walcha and the Sapphire Coast took precedence over Caulfield races in a move that aroused punter anger that was directed at both Sky Racing and Racing Victoria.
The situation is set to continue on Saturday at Caulfield’s Group I CF Orr Stakes meeting after Racing Victoria decided it needed another week to “obtain more relevant and effective data on the concept”.
RV chief executive Bernard Saundry claimed the Sky Racing broadcast “compromised” the initial trial of the shorter breaks, which caused a need to extend the testing of 30-minute gaps until Friday week.
“The move of the majority of our weekend races to Sky Racing’s secondary channel has compromised our ability to capture relevant and effective data on both wagering and the off-course experience and as a result we now need to extend the trial for a further week,” Saundry said in a statement.
“We will be disappointed if the broadcast of our meetings this weekend is again compromised, particularly the Group I Ladbrokes CF Orr Stakes meeting at Caulfield on Saturday.”
“We have had plenty of positive feedback from fans and participants that attended weekend race meetings and are in the process of capturing information from them to help inform any future decisions on this concept.”
The RV board will consider the merits of the shorter breaks at its monthly board meeting on Thursday before meeting Racing NSW representatives the following day “to discuss whether opportunities exist for a co-ordinated national trial in the future.”