On Thursday morning, Racing Victoria (RV) alongside Country Racing Victoria (CRV) announced that Sale Racecourse will host the inaugural Good Friday meeting in Victoria in 2022, subject to parliamentary approval.
RV and CRV had announced in June that they were in talks with Country Victoria race clubs as to who would host the inaugural race meeting, with Sale in the Gippsland region the destination for next year’s marquee event.
The meeting is set to give the region a big economical boost with plenty of racing fans expected to make the 216km trek from Melbourne to Sale pending any Covid-19 imposed restrictions.
With the addition of racing to the Good Friday calendar, the meeting will go alongside marquee sporting events in the state with the AFL, NRL and NBL all hosting matches on the day, with all three codes proving big fundraisers for the traditional Good Friday Appeal.
Despite Sale being selected for the inaugural meeting, it is expected that other country racetracks will get their chance in years to come to host the featured event. Benalla, Echuca and Wangaratta were all considered to be genuine chances of hosting the first Good Friday race meet.
Our opinion on Good Friday racing
When the prospect of racing on Good Friday in Victoria was raised, several trainers were of the opinion this was a decision made without prior consideration to all participants.
Michael Kent Jr was arguably the most outspoken trainer, saying on Twitter: “Good Friday has always been treasured in our large racing family as a rare day off to catch up together.”
The stance has since been found to be a unique one, with plenty of racing participants ultimately being against the race-free week that Victoria is currently undertaking is being heavily scrutinised due to trainers and staff alike still required at stables each day.
In our mind, it is hard to mount a case against racing on Good Friday, if the meeting is used a genuine fundraising effort for the Good Friday Appeal.
The Good Friday Appeal has been a long standing fundraiser in Victoria, in an attempt to race much needed funds for The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, with the Appeal raising $17,122,879 this year.
If participants do not want to participate in Good Friday that is all well and good, but anytime we get more eyes on our great sporting code, the better. With the aim to distribute this standalone meeting around several country race clubs it can only be a positive move from Racing Victoria in our opinion.