Warrnambool Racing Club is set to make a play for Bendigo’s feature jumps day.
The Standard understands Warrnambool officials are preparing to make a pitch to Racing Victoria about bolstering its feature jumps events.
The club next Tuesday will open discussions with Racing Victoria about securing next year’s Mosstrooper Steeplechase and Drechsler Hurdle from Bendigo.
The addition of another major jumps racing event would provide an economic boost to the club and the city. The club, which already has its famous May carnival and a Super Sunday of Jumps Racing, held each July, would further cement Warrnambool as the home of jumps racing if it secured the Mosstrooper day.
Warrnambool’s play for the feature races comes after a bad day for the sport at Bendigo last Sunday.
Eight horses fell and one had to be put down after six jumps races were held on a hard track.
Jumps jockeys and trainers were critical of the track surface, saying it was too hard for jumps races, with Bendigo having had a dry winter so far.
The stewards upgraded the track rating to a good four after three races on Sunday, forcing some trainers to scratch their runners including Hornets’ Nest, trained by Koroit’s James McNamara.
Hornets’ Nest was scratched from the Drechsler Hurdle and now faces a race against time to be ready to run in the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown on August 5.
Champion jumps jockey Steven Pateman earlier this week said Racing Victoria should ensure jumps meetings were held on softer ground.
Warrnambool Racing Club completed a $300,000 drainage upgrade in the Brierly paddock two years ago to ensure it could hold feature jumps races around its famous cross-country course during winter.
Chairman Nick Rule declined to comment.