RV to trial change to program from 2020/21

RV chief executive Giles Thompson has announced programming changes in response to welfare concerns

A race-free week at the end of the racing season will be trialled in Victoria next year.

Racing Victoria has announced several initiatives as part of its ongoing review of the working week in response to participants' concerns over their workload and welfare.

There will be no racing or official barrier trials held between Monday, July 26 and Friday, July 30, the final week of the 2020/21 season.

RV said the trial of the race-free week at season's end would be for two years.

There will also be no Victorian race meetings on Christmas Eve for the next two seasons, giving participants two consecutive race-free days.

RV says a restructure of the calendar means there will also be an increase from 15 to 17 race-free days in 2020/21.

In April and May this season, RV will also trial earlier finishes for night meetings at Pakenham on Thursdays and Cranbourne on Fridays.

"The decisions made around our race dates and programming has allowed us to significantly grow returns to participants and owners over recent years, however, we understand there's a balance to be struck for the welfare of all stakeholders," RV chief executive Giles Thompson said.

"We are alive to the current demands on a broad range of stakeholders, in particular trainers, stable staff and jockeys, and as such we've been working closely with the ATA (Australian Trainers' Association) and VJA (Victorian Jockeys Association) on a review of the working week for some time."

Thompson said the governing body would continue to discuss working hours with the relevant participants.