Festival of Racing programming changes

Racing Victoria (RV) has today announced two key programming changes for the upcoming 2021 Festival of Racing following a review of the feature race program.

The Group 2 Kewney Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Flemington on Super Saturday, 6 March 2021 will revert to 1600m after being conducted over 1400m since 2010.

First run in 1952 over 2000m, the Kewney was changed to 1600m in 1985, before being shortened by 200m a decade ago in a bid to further its claims for Group 1 status.

With the Surround Stakes (1400m, three-year-old fillies) in Sydney subsequently elevated to Group 1 status, the Kewney Stakes is unlikely to achieve an upgrade in the foreseeable future.

Following consultation with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) and Australian Trainers Association (ATA), it was determined that a return to 1600m for the Kewney Stakes would ultimately provide a better flow of feature races for three-year-old fillies during the Festival of Racing as follows:

  • 6 February, Caulfield – Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m)
  • 13 February, Flemington – Group 3 Vanity Stakes (1400m)
  • 20 February, Caulfield – Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m)
  • 6 March, Flemington – Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1600m)

RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter said, “We review the feature race program on an ongoing basis, and it was ultimately determined that it would be in the best interests of owners and trainers for the Kewney Stakes to revert to 1600m this season.

“The change provides greater diversity in our autumn program for the three-year-old fillies, particularly those searching for a middle distance, and will also provide Victorian trainers with a better springboard to Group 1 fillies races in Sydney and Adelaide in the following two months.”

RV also announced that the VOBIS Gold El Dorado for three-year-olds and upwards has been moved from Wangaratta Cup Day on 27 February 2021 to Echuca Cup Day on 7 March 2021.

The El Dorado, which is part of the VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series and carries prizemoney of $100,000 plus a $30,000 VOBIS Gold bonus, has been shortened from 1300m to 1200m with the switch.