MELBOURNE RACING - Freedman backs Spring Carnival revamp

Published 2020/06/01

It comes after Racing.com revealed a draft plan which would see a major shake up of the spring carnival as the industry tries to navigate its way through the COVID-19 crisis and avoid a clash with AFL finals.

One of the biggest proposals put to key industry participants for discussion includes moving the Caulfield Cup to November 28, after the Melbourne Cup. A restructure of the program surrounding the spring’s key features is also included in the draft plan.

Freedman said the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 meant that this spring carnival was the perfect time to try something new.

“I think, look, it’s a very good year to try change,” Freedman, who currently trains in Singapore, told After The Last.

“Everything has been thrown up in the air by this virus and to be perfectly honest, if you have a look at the figures, the figures have been diminishing over the spring carnival for the last several years.

“I think trying something new is a very good thing, not only because of the virus, but it brings into play possibly an even better time of the year to run some of those races and potentially better crowds and better viewership on the various networks.

“I think if they knock back doing any sort of change this year, (it) would be a mistake. I think it’s just the right time to do it.”

Meanwhile, Freedman hasn’t ruled out a return to train in Australia, but not in the immediate future. Singapore hasn’t raced since April 3 due to COVID-19, but trainers have been allowed to work their horses. That has brough its own challenges with staff members returning to their home country due to the virus.

When asked if he was looking to return to train in Australia, Freedman said:

“It depends what you call soon, I always keep my options open. “I’m going to finish this season and I’m going to look around and see what next season looks like and then I’ll make a decision on that.”