Good Friday races in Sale

The inaugural Good Friday race meeting will be held at Greenwattle Racecourse, subject to parliamentary approval. File photo

SUBJECT to parliamentary approval, Sale Turf Club will host a race meeting on Good Friday next year.
Racing Victoria, in conjunction with Country Racing Victoria, on Thursday announced the inaugural Good Friday meeting will be held in Sale in 2022.
RV and CRV announced plans last month for the creation of a feature annual race meeting in country Victoria which would launch the Easter long weekend.
The destination event is designed to support tourism in regional  Victoria and would result in thoroughbred racing join the AFL, NRL and NBL in conducting professional sport on Good Friday in Victoria.
Sale was chosen by RV and CRV to host the inaugural Good Friday meeting, which is proposed to rotate annually throughout Victoria, promoting different regions of the state and encouraging tourism.
Home to one of state’s premier country racetracks, Sale is seen as ideally located for tourists to visit the Gippsland Lakes and 90 Mile Beach.
RV and CRV are planning for the feature race meeting to support fundraising efforts for the Good Friday Appeal.
If changes to the Racing Act 1958, which would permit the conduct of thoroughbred racing on Good Friday, are passed by state parliament, RV and CRV are committed to ensuring racing will not begin before 1pm, as currently occurs on Anzac Day.
The state government introduced a bill into parliament last month seeking to amend the Racing Act 1958 to allow for the conduct of racing on Good Friday. It is anticipated that the bill will be debated in parliament in coming weeks. Racing is currently prohibited in Victoria on Good Friday and Christmas Day.
RV chief executive Giles Thompson said there was excitement about the potential to create a feature raceday which made country Victoria a focal point on Good Friday for racing fans and provided another incentive for holiday-makers to venture into country Victoria during Easter.
“We would want this race day to be a destination event for country Victoria, one that showcases different areas of our state through an annual rotation, thus supporting the different country communities that promote racing year-round,” he said.
“Sale is one of our leading country racetracks and a Good Friday race day would provide a wonderful opportunity to work with the local community to promote the broader Gippsland region and to showcase country racing at its best.”
CRV chief executive Scott Whiteman said if supported by parliament, Good Friday presented a good opportunity to develop another marquee race day in the country, while helping to support tourism in regional Victoria which has had its challenges throughout the COVID pandemic.
“Easter is one of the most successful weekends for country racing and its local communities and the addition of Good Friday racing would only serve to bolster its importance to both the racing industry and country Victoria,” he said.
“Gippsland is a wonderful part of country Victoria, and the region
has done it tough over the past two years with the devastating bushfires of 2019-20 rolling straight into the COVID pandemic.”
Sale Turf Club chief executive Brad Evans welcomed the chance for the club to host the race day.
“It would be an incredible honour for the Sale Turf Club to host the
first Good Friday race meeting in Victoria and we warmly welcome the opportunity to showcase the sport and our region on what will be an historic day, if approved by parliament,” he said.
“The opportunity to promote Sale and the wider Gippsland region is something that we embrace and would work with the local community, CRV and RV to make Good Friday a success for country racing and tourism in the region.
“If supported by parliament, we not only look forward to creating a great race day for everyone to enjoy, but we’ll be ensuring that Good Friday racing at Sale plays its part to help support the Good Friday Appeal which is an intrinsic part of this day for Victorians.”
Thoroughbred racing is currently conducted in Western Australia and Tasmania on Good Friday.
Up until 2017, Good Friday and Christmas Day were Victoria’s only race-free days.
Victoria now has 17 days annually on which no thoroughbred racing is programmed, and is currently conducting a race-free week for the first time, with no meetings scheduled.
Good Friday next year will be on April 15.