The 2019 Melbourne Cup has already had its share of controversy with pop star Taylor Swift cancelling her scheduled performance at the event after a backlash from animal rights groups.
Now Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys has lashed out at the Victoria Racing Club, calling for it to move the event to late November.
Mr V’landys has called for the move, which would break with 150 years of tradition and history of the race being staged on the first Tuesday in November, in a bid to overhaul the national racing schedule to better accommodate other events.
“The one that has to move is the VRC with the Melbourne Cup,” Mr V’landys told Channel Seven.
“The Melbourne Cup will be successful wherever you put it.
“If you are really interested in the national racing scene, don’t give us diatribe. Look at it and if there is a better pattern, they should act instead of being critical all the time thinking they have a monopoly and attacking the other states.
“They [VRC] should look at it as a national industry. They shouldn’t look at it as a Victorian racing industry. I don’t think the way it is at the moment is of benefit to the Victorian racing industry, let alone the national industry.
“If you are going to attack a state about national racing, I think you should look at your own scene first.
“Nothing stays the same forever and racing has to be prepared to change and embrace new ideas.”
Mr V’landys has been engaged in a long-running battle with those in Victorian racing and has beefed up the NSW spring racing calendar in recent years by adding major events, including the $14 million Everest on Caulfield Cup day and now the $7.5 million Golden Eagle for four-year-olds to be run on Victoria Derby day.
Still, he said, his moves were hardly a case of a state-versus-state turf war and more a case of helping the industry nationwide.
“Racing needs to do this to stay relevant. It can’t just stay the way it has always been because then the sport will go backwards,” Mr V’landys told News Corp.
“All I’m saying is, let’s have this debate. Let’s talk about taking a national approach to the big-race calendar and see if there are things we can do better.
“They (Victorians) keep going on about national co-operation, but only if and when it suits them. However, when they have to co-operate they move faster than Winx to get away.”
Mr V’landys was backed up in his call to move the Melbourne Cup by Melbourne Racing Club chief executive Josh Blanksby, who felt the Caulfield Cup carnival would benefit by being held later in the year.
“The first Tuesday in November is sacrosanct, according to some,” Mr Blanksby told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“If you take Peter’s lead, should we be reviewing that? Times change.
“From our perspective, selfishly speaking, we come right on the back of the AFL grand final and it’s difficult to try and get people’s minds to turn to racing season.”