WODONGA and District Turf Club has scrapped its Melbourne Cup day meeting.
Only three years after holding its first Cup-day meeting, the club has chosen an extra TAB meeting rather than race on Australia’s biggest race day.
Wodonga is given eight meetings a year by Racing Victoria.
The club has had to give up one of its three non-TAB fixtures to take on the new TAB meeting.
Club president Colin Haynes said yesterday the committee had faced the tough decision of which of its non-TAB meetings, on Caulfield and Melbourne Cup days or its Boxing Day meeting, it should dump.
“Boxing Day is a tradition at Wodonga, Caulfield Cup is our biggest growth meeting and Melbourne Cup has made a healthy start with new racegoers and families,” Mr Haynes said.
“The club voted unanimously to keep our two most established non-TAB meetings.”
The Albury, Corowa, Wangaratta and Wagga clubs will welcome the shock announcement as they jostle for patronage and cash on Cup day.
Wangaratta this year attracted a 4500 crowd, Albury 3200 and Corowa 3000. Wodonga and Wagga both had about 1500.
Wodonga’s “apprentice race day” concept for Cup day — where all riders are apprentices — could be taken up on either Caulfield Cup day or Boxing Day — if Racing Victoria approves it.
Racing Victoria released a draft for 2013-14 race dates. It is expected to confirm dates in March after further consultation.
Wodonga’s proposed dates are October 19, December 1 and 26, February 22, April 4, May 18, June 2 and July 27.