Spring uncertainty puts Begg plans on hold

Craig Brennan
Trainer Grahame Begg says any spring carnival changes must be made sooner rather than later

Trainer Grahame Begg would like a quick resolution to possible changes for the Victorian spring so he can map out a proper carnival program for his team.

While the Victoria Racing Club is steadfast in not changing the date of the Melbourne Cup carnival and the Moonee Valley Racing Club is keen to run the Cox Plate at its time, the Melbourne Racing Club is investigating a possible switch to November for the Caulfield Cup.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, key feature spring races may this year clash with the AFL final series which has the grand final tentatively scheduled for Cox Plate day.

The MVRC wants to run the Cox Plate in a timeslot opposite to the grand final, preferring a day fixture to maximise betting turnover.

A later Caulfield Cup is regarded by the MRC as an opportunity to race free of any potential AFL clashes while allowing extra time for any potential crowd returns.

Racing Victoria needs to ratify any programming changes and says it won't be making any announcements until June.

But that does not help Begg who has already brought Caulfield Cup hope Nonconformist back into work.

"It's all very well that they say we should be running this race after that and whatever, but we've got to get the horses in and work out a program, outline what we want to do and how we want to approach it," Begg said.

"They are not like motor cars where you just put the key in and turn them on.

"If you've got a serious spring contender you're back in the first week of June so we want to know where the kick-off is going to be.

"That's the frustrating thing, owners are asking 'what are we doing' and you look a bit stupid when you're saying 'I don't really know'."