Saturday Orr Sunday for important stakes race?

The important CF Orr Stakes meeting at Caulfield has been rescheduled to Sunday due to the extreme temperatures predicted for Melbourne on Saturday.

Racing Victoria Limited (RVL), in conjunction with the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and other key stakeholders, reached the decision after ongoing monitoring of the forecast with the Bureau of Meteorology.

“The forecast is for temperatures to get as high as 44 degrees on Saturday so in the best interests and welfare of all horses, jockeys and industry participants the decision was taken to move the meeting to Sunday,” RVL CEO Rob Hines said.

The bureau indicated the temperature was expected to reach the high 30s by lunchtime on Saturday before peaking in the mid-40s during the afternoon.

A cool change is expected around 7pm (AEDT) on Saturday and on Sunday it will be a much cooler 23 degrees.

MRC chief executive Warran Brown said another option was to race earlier on Saturday with the first event at 10am (AEDT), but the decision to race on Sunday was in the best interests of all participants.

“The commonsense approach was to avoid the oppressive conditions that are expected on Saturday in the interests of all concerned. We gave all the options available to us due consideration before arriving at this decision,” he said.

“Our primary objective was to ensure that the meeting was conducted at some stage and to be able to do that in the most favourable conditions for everyone was also foremost in our minds.”

The nine-race Caulfield program will start at 12.45pm and conclude at 5.28pm.

The Group One Orr Stakes (1400m), race seven, will be run at 4.18pm.

The provincial meeting set down for Bendigo on Saturday has also been moved to Sunday, with 44 degrees forecast on Saturday. The first race will be run at 11.30am.

Sunday’s third meeting is the Colac Cup meeting, while the Sale meeting, featuring the $80,000 Sale Quality (1200m) which was scheduled for Sunday will now be held on Monday alongside the Swan Hill meeting.

The only meeting in the state on Saturday will be the Buchan picnics.

Brown said the MRC had to make the decision on Thursday in the interests of all concerned.

“Logistically it is an absolute nightmare transferring the meeting to Sunday,” Brown said.

“Obviously we’ve got rosters, lots of staff to notify, chefs, cooks, gatekeepers etcetera. Obviously some may have other arrangements for Sunday.”

He said sponsors, corporate box-holders and club members also had to be notified of the rescheduling.

Trainer Steve Richards, who has Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Rostova engaged in the Blue Diamond Prelude, had been adamant the meeting should be moved to Sunday.

“Commonsense has to prevail. I think the meeting just has to be moved back to Sunday, as simple as that,” he said.

“There’s no question. Just do it for the welfare of the horses and the jockeys.”

Pat Hyland, who has Zarita resuming in the Orr Stakes, said the decision was clear cut.

“I don’t think the club has much choice. My feeling is that it would be best to run the races on Sunday,” he said.

“I think it is the safest way to go. If you run the races early on Saturday and it is stinking hot and the jockeys are exhausted where are we? The meeting doesn’t go on.”
By Mark Ryan