The Bendigo Harness Racing Club pulled off a major blow with Lord’s Raceway to host one of the biggest nights on the Victorian racing calendar for the first time.
With Tabcorp Park Melton currently banned on Saturday nights due to COVID-19 regulations, Bendigo will be the venue for three of the best Victorian harness races on Saturday, October 9.
A trio of Group 1 events will be featured in the $ 300,000 Victoria Cup, which was won overwhelmingly last year by harness superstar Lochinvar Art.
A brilliant night of racing will also feature the State’s first three-year classics, the $ 200,000 Victoria Derby Final and the $ 150,000 Victoria Oaks Final.
In another club endorsement, Lord’s Raceway will host the $ 50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint and Derby and Oaks rounds the week before Victoria Cup night on Saturday October 2nd.
The Smoken Up Sprint produced one of the spillovers of the season last year when Rishi, coached by Lance Justice and led by Michael Bellman, rocked the big guns, led by the boosting sensation Ride High, to win with a odds of 120-1.
The award of back-to-back Saturday night race meetings comes less than two weeks after Lord’s Raceway hosted a pair of Group 1 races on September 11, including the first $ 100,000 Caduceus Classic VHRC.
BHRC chief executive Erik Hendrix viewed the award of two more race nights as a vote of confidence in the club’s efforts during the COVID period.
“We couldn’t be more excited to land another marquee reunion on Saturday,” he said.
“We will take them whenever we can. The exposure he will bring us will be enormous. We hope it will last.
“We hope the more people see our track on these big nights, the more people will fall in love with it and want to show up when we finally open and have that racing night experience.”
Hendrix felt the success of this month’s Group 1 reunion at Lord’s Raceway, highlighted by the emotional victories of Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars in the VHRC Caduceus Classic with Triple Eight and Richard and Emmett Brosnan with Maori Law in the championship Australasian Trotters, had helped move the case forward so that more race meetings could be held in Bendigo.
Attendance at both meetings will always be limited to essential personnel, including approved industry participants with a commitment to that meeting and the personnel required to make the meeting run.
Hendrix praised race participants and stable staff for their continued vigilance against COVID during meetings at Lord’s Raceway.
“It’s one of those things, if our industry is to keep running it has to do the right thing,” he said.
“So far we have been fantastic and avoided any major disaster.
“The industry has been holding up for over a year and a half now, so as long as we all continue to do the right things, we should be fine.”
In other changes to the race schedule, the Friday October 9 meeting originally scheduled for Lord’s Raceway will now take place in Mildura.
Through Kieran Iles, republished from advertiser Bendigo