Moonee Valley Release Master Plan

A world-class grandstand and a repositioned, wider track with a longer home straight are centrepieces of a plan to secure the Moonee Valley Racing Club’s (MVRC) iconic Moonee Ponds home for future generations and reinvigorate thoroughbred racing at the Valley.

MVRC has today released a draft of a Master Plan that will act as a blueprint for development at the 40-hectare site over the next 15-20 years.

Under the plan, the grandstand would be relocated to the site’s northern boundary, overlooking the reconfigured track. To fund this, less than a quarter of the site (8 hectares) would be redeveloped for residential and commercial use, transforming the car park on the western boundary into a vibrant inner-urban precinct.

The draft’s release coincides with an extensive community consultation the club has initiated. MVRC has invited Moonee Ponds residents and traders to Open House information sessions to learn more about the proposals.

Key Racing Features
· A new four-tier grandstand with capacity for up to 10,000 spectators;

· Site capacity of comfortably holding crowds of up to 40,000 on W.S. Cox Plate Day;

· A new grass track utilising contemporary innovations for water sustainability;

· Extended home straight to 317 metres and increased track width to 30 metres;

· Provision for key race distances of 1200, 1600, 2040, 2400 and 3000 metres;

· New infield stripping stalls, with a tunnel through to the mounting yard;

· Greater use of the infield for car parking;

· Efficient, state-of-the-art lighting; and

· Potential for up to 30 night race meetings annually.

Key Non-Racing Features
· Provision for up to 2500 world-class townhouse and apartment-style dwellings over 15-20 years;

· Affordable housing provision;

· Enhancement of the Moonee Ponds area with new and improved facilities and amenities;

· Improved community services;

· A modern community function centre; and

· Secure employment in construction jobs and, long-term, in commercial, retail and other sectors.

Upon having planning approvals, the club plans to start track construction immediately after the 2016 W.S. Cox Plate and re-open the following August so that it will not lose continuity of staging its premier race.

The MVRC would conduct its meetings at other Victorian race tracks during the approximate 10 months of building the new track.

The redevelopment would lead to more race meetings and benefit the industry through increased wagering levels with owners, trainers and jockeys earning greater prizemoney.

MVRC Chairman Bob Scarborough said the purpose-built venue would deliver up to 40 meetings a year and hold crowds of 40,000 comfortably, particularly on feature race days.

“We will be seeking to enhance the on-course experience through our track reconfiguration and spectators in our new state-of-the-art grandstand will be significantly closer to the racing action,” Mr Scarborough said.

“They will have greater lines of sight of the race track, a closer position to the horses at the furthest point in the back straight and a backdrop of the Melbourne city skyline. There will be sufficient seating for both members and the public.

“The venue will be more of an amphitheatre and will enhance the unique atmosphere already enjoyed at the course.

“MVRC will use modern technology for our track design, irrigation and drainage with innovations for water sustainability and a lighting system that provides a more efficient network and with reduced power usage.

“Our focus is on building a world-class night racing venue. Most of our meetings would be on Friday nights and the racing product would be exported to international markets through television and other electronic sources.”

Mr Scarborough said the race track will have a new grass surface and its width will be increased from 24 metres to 30 metres. The track circumference will reduce by 103 metres to 1702 metres and the club will have greater flexibility in scheduling races over all key distances from 1000 metres to 3000 metres.

“Regardless of our redevelopment plans, the track needs to be replaced within the next five to seven years, so these significant works will ensure we have a safe and high-quality surface on which to stage metropolitan race meetings,” he said.

The east-west facing home straight will be 317 long compared to its current distance of 173 metres – the shortest run home in Australian racing.

“The extension of the track width is important as it will allow for more rail movements and enable us to have bigger fields of starters as the rail is moved out,” Mr Scarborough said.

“We are restricted to 10 runners when the rail is out seven metres, but with the new track we could run capacity fields when the rail is out 10 metres or more.

“Maximum field limits will improve our wagering returns and the opportunities for owners, trainers and jockeys to win more prize money.”

He said the new track cambers will improve safety by placing less stress on horses when fully exerted and reduce track bias by providing each starter with the chance to run up to their ability despite their position in running.

The course will have a remodelled infield that will incorporate a horse float park, pedestrian access, horse stalls and pre-parade ring and a tunnel under the track leading to the mounting yard. Car parking would also be within the infield.

Click here to view the MVRC Master Plan.

Rocket Man being set for the Patinack Farm Classic

When Peter Moody issued a challenge immediately after the 2011 Coolmore Lightning Stakes to the connections of the world’s best sprinters to “come on down” to take on Black Caviar, he may not have expected that his challenge would be taken up later in the year by Singapore superstar Rocket Man.

The recently announced prize money increase to $1 million (making it the equal richest sprint race in Australia), and the adding of a $600,000 bonus for international winners of Global Sprint Challenge races in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK has enhanced the prospects that the Patinack Farm Classic will, over time, become an international feature race of the Melbourne Cup Carnival each year.

VRC Chief Executive, Mr Dale Monteith, announced today that, “Over the weekend Mr Fred Grabbia, owner of Rocket Man, informed the Club that, subject to suitable quarantine arrangements, Rocket Man would be targeting the 2011 Patinack Farm Classic.

“In addition, the VRC and RV have issued an invitation to the connections of the Hong Kong-trained, Ultra Fantasy, winner of the 2010 Japan Sprinters Stakes.

“Formal invitations will also be issued to the winners of each of the upcoming UK legs of the Global Sprint Challenge, the King’s Stand Stakes, Golden Jubilee Stakes, both at Royal Ascot, and the July Cup at Newmarket.”

At this stage it is most unlikely that South African speedster JJ The Jet Plane, the winner of the 2010 Hong Kong International Sprint will make the journey due to injury and Japanese sprinter Kinshasa No Kiseki, winner of the 2011 TakamatsunomiyaKinen in his homeland, has been retired.

“Danny O’Brien’s Star Witness and Peter Moody’s Hinchinbrook would both become eligible to compete for the $600,000 bonus in the 2011 Patinack Farm Classic should they win one of the Global Sprint Challenge races in the UK,” Monteith explained.

The bonus, which will apply for at least three years, is structured to ensure that the Patinack Farm Classic will attract internationally performed runners to the race, and is also an added incentive for Australia’s best sprinters to compete overseas.

“This aspect of the bonus available for the Patinack Farm Classic is important to note, as it will encourage Australian sprinters to travel overseas for Global Sprint Challenge races and thereby become eligible to win the bonus in November each year,” Monteith explained.

Racing Victoria (RV), through its support of the Global Sprint Challenge series, provides travel subsidies to international runners competing in the Australian legs of the series, including the 2011 Patinack Farm Classic.

DOOMBEN SATURDAY SELECTIONS

Doomben 10,000 Meeting – Saturday May 27

Race 1 – 10. Alotta Spur 5. Milo 2. Audacious Spirit

Race 2 – 10. Work The Room 1. Lucky Luna 13. Seeyou

Race 3 – 1. Absent Friends 4. Lake George 7. Captain Clayton

Race 4 – 7. Saramenha 11. Sweet Reward 4. Fontelina

Race 5 – 4. Chateau Fort (EACH-WAY SPECAL) 16. Fillydelphia 13. Peck

Race 6 – 1. Fanjura 7. Viking Hero 15. Little Stranger

Race 7 – 7. Beaded 5. Love Conquers All 8. Buffering

Race 8 – 4. Gundy Son (SPECIAL) 2. Drenalin 10. Balavan

So You Think storms to Arc favouritism

So You Think’s European campaign continues to go from strength to strength with the Australian import sealing outright favouritism for the famed Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a dominant Tattersall’s Gold Cup win at The Curragh.

The former Bart Cummings-trained champion, who is now in the care of Aidan O’Brien, stormed clear at the head of Paddy Power’s market for the October 2 Arc with an effortless win in the 2112-metre Group 1 in the early hours of Monday morning, Australian time.

The High Chaparral entire headed to The Curragh joint favourite for the 2400m Arc at 4/1 with defending champion Workforce, but had his price trimmed to 7/2 following the ease of his win.

So You Think ambled home by four-and-a-half lengths from Campanologist, who ran 16th in last year’s Melbourne Cup, justifying the faith of punters who sent him around the 1/7 favourite in the five-horse field.

Ryan Moore, regular rider of Workforce, enjoyed his first ride on So You Think in the Gold Cup and told Racing Post he was impressed by the feel the former Aussie champ gave him.

“So You Think has a big, long stride that covers the same amount of ground most horses would taketwo strides to cover,” Moore said. “He travelled very well and was impressive when I asked him to go on.”

The win was So You Think’s sixth at the top level following wins in a pair of Cox Plates, an Underwood Stakes, Yalumba Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes prior to being partly sold to Irish breeding giant Coolmore after his game third in last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.

He will get the chance to add another Group 1 to his CV at Royal Ascot on June 15 when he steps out in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m).

“The Prince of Wales’s at Royal Ascot will be next,” O’Brien told Racing Post. “That was always the plan if everything went well today. It was important for Ryan Moore to sit on him in a race in case he might be able to ride him at Ascot.

“He’s incredible – a different creature to what we’ve ever seen before and we’re just very lucky to have him racing onthis side of the world this year.”

Black Caviar Showdown A Step Closer

The showdown between Australia’s golden girl of the turf Black Caviar and Singapore’s champion Rocket Man moved a step closer to fruition on Sunday night when the latter demolished his rivals in the $A757,285 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) at Singapore’s Kranji Racecourse.

As the third leg of the 2011 Global Sprint Challenge, Rocket Man is now eligible for a record $1.2 million payout if he can upstage defending champion Black Caviar in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on the final day of this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) announced on Thursday that prize money for the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic – the eighth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge – has been increased from $750,000 to a record $1 million.

In a bid to entice the world’s leading sprinters down under to challenge Black Caviar, the VRC also unveiled a further $600,000 bonus for the winner of an international leg of the 2011 Global Sprint Challenge if it can claim the Patinack Farm Classic.

Rocket Man, now a winner of 16 of his 20 starts, was the number one international sprint target for the VRC and Racing Victoria (RV) who have commenced discussions with the horse’s connections about competing during the Spring Racing Carnival.

RV’s international recruitment officer Leigh Jordon was at Kranji on Sunday night to offer an invitation to Rocket Man’s trainer Patrick Shaw to fly to Victoria and inspect the training facilities at the Werribee International Horse Centre.

In an important step towards a showdown with the unbeaten Black Caviar on Australian soil, Shaw, who has regularly declared his horse better than the champion mare, has accepted the invitation and will fly to Victoria in the coming weeks.

Despite sitting three wide for the first half of the Krisflyer, Rocket Man exploded away from his rivals on straightening to claim the Group 1 by four-and-three-quarter lengths in 1:09.14.

It was a case of third time lucky for the hometown hero who was beaten into second in the previous two editions of Singapore’s premier sprint by Hong Kong pair Sacred Kingdom (2009) and Green Birdie (2010), who were amongst the beaten brigade on Sunday night.

A jubilant Shaw declared post-race, “He’s the best horse in the world. They can bring whatever they like (over here). I’m not just saying it because it’s Rocket Man, I mean it.”

Winning jockey Felix Coetzee, a South African like Shaw, said, “He’s just sensational and it’s such a privilege to ride a horse like this….I’m just the lucky guy on top. These great ones they do it all for you.”

Locally trained horses filled the trifecta with Eclair Fastpass second and Perfect Pins third, whilst second favourite Sacred Kingdom could only manage sixth in the hands of Glen Boss.

The Global Sprint Challenge continues with legs four to six in the United Kingdom commencing with the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot on 14 June.

Black Caviar won’t be contesting those. She is currently spelling after making it 13 from 13 in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Brisbane’s Doomben Racecourse on 14 May and will return to the track during the Spring Racing Carnival.