Ladbrokes Friday Night Lights continues to shine brightly at the conclusion of Season 22 of Night Racing at The Valley, with 76,485 patrons walking through the gates to enjoy racing under lights at Australasia’s Premier Night Racing venue.
Commencing on the traditional AFL Grand Final Eve slot and concluding on March 22 where the season’s final feature event, the $500,000 Keogh Homes William Reid Stakes went the way of the Tony McEvoy trained Sunlight, memories were made on and off the track at the 17 night race meetings.
The final night also saw young Mornington trainer Logan McGill walk away with a $55,000 cheque after taking out the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge for training the quickest horse over the unique 955 metre distance. Written Choice ran the third fastest time ever over the nine series of the 55 Second Challenge with a time of 54.77.
Racegoers and punters alike continued to show strong support of the night racing product, with attendance up 2.7%, highlighted by a record crowd of 13,627 on Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes night. The big crowd soaked up the win of Brave Smash in Australia’s richest race under lights, the $1 million Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes, while 7,101 witnessed Viddora and Lloyd Kennewell combine to win the Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes. These two premier sprint races also featured in the Longines World Best Horse Race rankings with the Group 1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes ranked equal 84th and the Group 1 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes coming in at equal 91st place.
Punters also embraced the 136 races run with wagering up a total of 16.5% with field sizes also increasing 2.8% across the 2018/19 season, with over $11 million in prizemoney on offer.
Damien Oliver rode more winners under lights than any other jockey, highlighted by the win of Meryl in the Group 3 Pro Star Entertainment Scarborough Stakes, while Jordan Childs was placed second with eight wins, three of them thanks to The Valley’s most successful horse, Mosh Music, who won on three separate occasions.
“The key metrics for Ladbrokes Friday Night Lights continue to rise which is a great indicator that people are continuing to enjoy the uniqueness of racing under lights at The Valley”, said Michael Browell, Moonee Valley Racing Club CEO.
“Planning is well underway to make season 2019/2020 even better in what will be our 23rd season of night racing at The Valley.”
The 2019/20 Ladbrokes Friday Night Lights Season will commence on Friday September 27 coinciding with the AFL Grand Final Eve Public Holiday and consists of 17 meetings, concluding on March 20, 2020 with the running of the Group 1 William Reid Stakes.