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Turf Deli Autumn Racing Carnival - Autumn vs Spring

Turf Deli Racing News

A Carnival of Festivals

The Melbourne Festival of Racing reaches a climax this weekend with Simply Super Duper Saturday, featuring the Newmarket Handicap and the Australian Cup.

For those extra keen it's a Super Duper Long Weekend with Super Saturday's horse racing flowing seamlessly into Sunday's Future Music Festival at Flemington. Just a shame there is no overnight camping on course.

Up in Sydney they even decided to move the this Saturday's Randwick Guineas to Warwick Farm so they could make sure the racecourse was available for the rock concert instead. Cause that's what racecourses are for - rock concerts - obviously.

For some reason, despite grand spectacles and quality horses, the Autumn racing in Melbourne never gets anywhere near capturing the public's imagination like the Spring Racing Carnival does.

The poor racing clubs and Racing Victoria have tried so hard too.

It's been continuous calendar re-jigs, format changes, promotion after promotion, Triple Crown bonuses, Biggest Fans, all you can eat salad bars, unlimited drink refills and lots of lots of free cash left in giant piles for anyone who wants it. Well, almost anything.


So why on earth would you want to go to the races in Autumn ? Let's break it down :

Atmosphere :
Autumn is only a festival - and of course Spring is a Carnival and everyone knows Carnivals have better rides, fairy floss and circus freaks. The public is crying out for more circus freaks in Autumn.

Weather :
The weather is of course, better in Autumn than during Spring (excluding freak Newmarket Handicap ice storms). Going to the races on a mild, warm, perfect sunny day in Autumn just isn't any fun. Where is the challenge in that?. Goose bumps with summer frocks in artic breezes is the height of fashion. You want to know your outfit can be wrecked by drenching rain at any moment else there just isn't any excitement in going to the races.

Horses :
The same horses go around in Autumn and in Spring. They race at the same courses. In the same colours. Often ridden by the same jockeys and trained by the same trainer. Going in the same direction. So if you have seen them during spring then you have seen it all already - all the horses finish in the same order in Autumn anyway. How boring.

Costs :
The entrance cost is much cheaper during Autumn than Spring for feature race days. Obviously the public wants to be charged more to go to the races. Offering entertainment like this cheaply is just an insult.

Crowds :
The crowds during Autumn are a fraction of what they are during Spring. 13,000 for the Lightning Stakes. A measly 10,000 for the Blue Diamond. Who on earth wants to stand on a lovely spacious lawn, or with a clear view from the grandstand seat whenever they want ? Most people would much rather be crammed into a crowd, lining up forever to get a bet on, and spending most of the day SMSing back and forward to try and find where everyone is and barely catching a glimpse of a horse. Cause traditionally that's what a day at the races is all about.

Races :
Autumn of course has the Australian Cup, which just by naming definition must be significantly bigger than the Melbourne Cup. People don't want big, they want smaller. Rename the Australian Cup the Racecourse Road Handicap and watch the crowds come flocking.

Summary :
So the same horses, same courses, better weather, smaller crowds, cheaper costs. What is missing here? Oh yeah, Autumn is actually about racing. No celebrity tipsters, no fashion lift outs, no clairvoyants, no milliners, no lucky colours, no network cross promotions. Horse. Punt. Bet. Race. Lovely. Whisper - don't tell the spring people, it's just our little secret.

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