Sportsbet-Pakenham Cup moves to March

Racing Victoria (RV), in conjunction with the Pakenham Racing Club (PRC) and Cranbourne Turf Club (CTC), wish to advise that this season’s Sportsbet-Pakenham Cup (2500m) will move to a Friday night meeting on 15 March 2024. 

As part of the 2023-24 race dates announced earlier this year, the Sportsbet-Pakenham Cup moved from its recent Saturday timeslot to a Thursday night on 29 February 2024 to build upon the growth of night racing at Sportsbet-Pakenham. 

Off the back of this week’s successful merger vote, the Clubs tabled a request to move the Pakenham Cup meeting to a Friday evening in March in a bid to further on-course attendance and community engagement. 

Sportsbet-Pakenham’s 29 February meeting will still be headlined by the $300,000 final of Australia’s richest maiden series, Sportsbet Future Stars, which features heats over seven consecutive Thursday nights from 11 January. 

To facilitate the move of the Sportsbet-Pakenham Cup from February to March, the following programming changes have been made:

  • The Cranbourne meeting on Friday, 15 March and Sportsbet-Pakenham on Thursday, 14 March will switch;

  • A $40,000 1400m maiden race will be added to the Pakenham program on Thursday, 29 February to maintain an eight race program;

  • To assist with the progression of staying races during the Festival of Racing, the $200,000 Torney Night Cup (2500m) at The Valley will move from Friday, 16 February to Friday, 23 February; and

  • To accommodate the Torney Night Cup shift, the $60,000 1600m maiden scheduled at The Valley on 23 February comes forward to 16 February.

Quotes attributable to Matt Welsh, RV Executive General Manager - Racing

“We received a request from the new management team to move the Pakenham Cup from a Thursday night to a Friday night next autumn. We were willing and able to support this request with the merger now complete. We also thank the Moonee Valley Racing Club for helping to facilitate this change. 

“Pakenham now has two feature night meetings, with the Sportsbet Future Stars reaching its finale on Thursday, 29 February and the Pakenham Cup taking centre stage on Friday night, 15 March.

“With these changes we’ll now have three weeks between the Torney Night Cup and the Pakenham Cup which will be two weeks prior to the Roy Higgins at Flemington which offers the first Lexus Melbourne Cup golden ticket. We think it is a great staying program for the Festival of Racing.”

Quotes attributable to Neil Bainbridge, Chief Executive

“The new Sportsbet Pakenham Cup date will now form part of an exciting autumn carnival for racing in the south-east.

“The carnival will see three feature meetings across five weeks, held at both Cranbourne and Pakenham, that will conclude on Good Friday Night at Cranbourne. 

“These changes are a great example of what benefits will flow for the betterment of racing in the south-east, as we move towards becoming one new Club early in 2024.”