TOWONG and Corowa cup meetings will go head-to-head on Saturday in a major break with tradition.
The two major race meetings have always been held on Saturday and Sunday respectively coinciding with the Labor Day long weekend in Victoria.
Corowa Race Club has accepted an offer from Racing NSW to stage its cup meeting with TAB coverage a day earlier and follows a similar decision to forego its Melbourne Cup meeting last year and race the day before with TAB coverage.
Towong Turf Club committeeman Rohan Whitehead said the club was first alerted to the clash a month ago.
“It was only very recently that we found out and we were naturally a bit disappointed,” he said.
“Probably more so because the crowd gets split and also the smaller trainers have to make a decision where they go.
“It knocks around your field sizes and that can work against Corowa also.”
Towong races only once a year after a second meeting was scrapped.
Mr Whitehead said the high country track was still hoping its crowd would be up on the estimated 2500 people who have attended in recent years.
A young members group has been formed with 200 booked into a marquee.
The Towong Cup meeting has attracted a smaller a number of acceptors for its meeting compared to Corowa.
Final fields were released on Thursday and 67 horses are down to race at Towong including 11 in the $20,000 feature race after there had been more than 30 nominations.
In comparison, Corowa had 95 acceptors with 12 runners in the $35,000 cup.
Club secretary Sheridan Kay said the club happily accepted the offer to switch to a Saturday.
“It was more in line to what Racing NSW wanted to do so we accepted the change,” she said.
The Corowa Cup switch has also avoided a clash with the Canberra Cup-Black Opal meeting.
Wodonga trainer Peter Maher said the clash wasn’t ideal and his stable’s resources would be stretched to the limit with two horses entered at Towong and four at Corowa.
“There is some extra running around, but it is something you’ve got to put up with,” he said.
“I’ve been going to Towong for as long as I can remember and you always like to support them.
“But Corowa has got more prizemoney so you are also trying to chase something extra.
“I’m not sure of the reasons, but you wouldn’t think they would turnover as much money as they would on a Sunday at Corowa.”