A DATE switch for the Group 2 Bendigo Cup is among a swathe of changes announced by the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association to its feature race calendar.
In 2014, the BGRA made the decision to move the Bendigo Cup away from its Easter timeslot to July in a bid to open up opportunities to attract the best greyhounds in racing to the flagship event.
The move was an instant success with several Easter Egg finalists making their way to Bendigo's cup, including Warrior King, who was placed in the Easter Egg, before taking out the inaugural winter held Bendigo Cup.
The winners list for the seven winter cups includes race track and stud star Fernando Bale, star sprinter and stud dog Aston Bolero, interstate raider Vanderworp, and multiple country cups winner Yozo Bale, who in 2020, defeated arguably the best Bendigo Cup field to be assembled.
A date change has been considered for some time as the BGRA considered elevating the cup to Group 1 status, before a change in direction to spread the stake money across a range of events.
News that the Brisbane Cup has been given a significant stake increase this year resulted in the club revisiting the scheduling change.
With an opportunity presented itself in recent weeks, the BGRA was quick to pounce.
The cup will move to October, with heats to be held on Sunday, October 10 and the $50,000 to the winner final on Friday, October 15.
To support the Bendigo Cup and create a spring carnival of sorts, the hugely popular Battler's Cup will move to October alongside the cup and a Vic Bred Maiden series over 500m will be conducted in the same period, as will a new event, The Spring Cup, for up-and-coming stayers over 660m, worth $10,000 to the winner.
In the winter spot, the BGRA is introducing two new races - The Prospector and the Bendigo Roses - both age restricted events, split by sex, and each offering a first prize of $15,000 with the finals on Friday, July 2.
The cup has provided a solid lead up to the Group 1 Maturity at the Meadows and the two new age restricted races, on the back of the Pink Diamond Series, will continue to provide that pathway to the age restricted classic.
Sitting alongside the two new features will be the annual Winter Cup over 660m and the Vic Bred Maiden series over 425m.
BGRA manager Troy Harley believed the changes would be welcomed by industry participants.
"The club took the punt a few years back by shifting the cup to winter in search of the best possible field and it worked," he said.
"The idea of the latest move is two fold - firstly to protect the quality and reputation of the pup, and secondly to open up what has proven to be a popular time for feature races at Bendigo for some new races to be added to the calendar.
"One positive to come from 2020 was a reminder that racing is still the most important part of our business and what we are all about is greyhounds and participants first and foremost.
"The club is proud of the number of events we conduct that complement our racing calendar, however, a restructure to our events program has allowed us to further inject funds into some new races, increase our media and exposure for the industry and participants, as well as continue to invest in the facility".
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