The curtain has come down on a successful 20th Night Racing season at The Valley and along with plenty of highlights both on and off the track, the Moonee Valley Racing Club is pleased to reveal numbers that reflect racing under lights continues to shine brightly.
Since its inception on Australia Day in 1998, Night Racing has continued to go from strength to strength and this season saw over $9 million in prizemoney offered across 128 races.
With three Group 1 feature meetings and events such as the ACJC Chinese New Year, AFL Grand Final Eve and St Paddy’s race meetings, the racing public continues to embrace The Valley and the night racing product.
Over 70,754 patrons walked through the turnstiles to enjoy The Valley’s hospitality during the 2016/17 season, an increase of 6.4% YOY, while despite three less races than the previous season, wagering increased by $26.7 million – a rise of 9.35% YOY.
Group 1 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes night, held on September 30, 2016, set a new Australian night racing wagering turnover record with $34.31 million wagered throughout the race meeting, however it was broken weeks later on October 21 during the Group 1 William Hill Manikato Stakes night, when an incredible $37.28 million was recorded in wagering turnover.
Many records were also broken on the track across the 2016/17 night racing season, most notably Katelyn Mallyon who became the first female Group 1 winning jockey at The Valley with her win aboard Silent Sedition in the Keogh Homes William Reid Stakes. Gary Portelli’s Rebel Dane became one of the longest priced winners in recent history ($61 SP) in our richest night race, the $1 million William Hill Manikato Stakes, while Sirbible clocked the second quickest time in history (54.84) to take out the Inglis 55 Second Challenge.
Master trainer Darren Weir enjoyed double the number of winners at The Valley than his nearest rival (Lindsay Park Racing) clocking 20 wins at a strike rate of 18% and pocketing nearly $1.2 million in prizemoney over the 16 night meetings (which also included 18 seconds and 11 thirds).
Meanwhile, young gun Ben Allen found the winner’s circle more often than his counterparts punching home 10 winners at a strike rate of just over 15%. Fellow apprentice Beau Mertens was just one win behind on nine wins, while Mark Zahra finished third on eight wins.
“In a season of many highlights, to have Katelyn Mallyon break 134 years of history in the William Reid Stakes will be fondly remembered for a long time to come,” reflected MVRC CEO Michael Browell.
“It is very pleasing to see the standard of racing continues to remain strong in our night racing product with a total 15 black-type races helping drive wagering to new heights”.
“The record wagering turnover experienced on both the Moir Stakes and Manikato Stakes night meetings illustrates our wagering audience continues to grow and that our racing program is delivering for our customers, both on and off the course”.
“With Ladbrokes recently coming on as our Night Racing partner we look forward to enhancing our product to truly own the night racing space in Australia,” Browell said.
With the recent release of the 2017/18 racing season dates, The Valley will again conduct 16 meetings, which is set to kick-off on September 29 to coincide with Grand Final Eve and the Group 1 Charter Keck Kramer Moir Stakes.