ANOTHER of the region's iconic country cup meetings has been cancelled for the second straight year.
The Manangatang Racing Club made public the decision to cancel its Saturday, October 9 meeting via its Facebook page late on Tuesday.
It follows the call earlier this month by the Gunbower Racing Club to cancel it's one-a-year race meeting, scheduled for Saturday, October 2.
The news is somewhat brighter for the Mount Wycheproof and District Racing Club with its 2021 cup meeting scheduled to proceed on Saturday, October 30, albeit without spectators.
Manangatang's cancellation and Wycheproof's green-light to proceed without crowds were among a raft of changes confirmed this week by Racing Victoria (RV), in consultation with Country Racing Victoria and affected clubs.
In other changes, the St Arnaud Cup meeting scheduled on Saturday, October 23 will move to Sunday, October 24, as an industry-only/no crowd meeting, and the two picnic meetings programmed in October at Alexandra (October 23) and Healesville (October 30) have been abandoned.
RV executive general manager - racing Greg Carpenter said the decision to remove meetings from the racing calendar was a difficult one.
"These race meetings are very much community events built on attendance and tourism and with limited or no crowds permitted we believe this is most practical decision to assist clubs, stakeholders and racing fans with their planning.
"I would like to thank the clubs affected for their cooperation and understanding regarding this decision, which we appreciate would be extremely disappointing for the Club, especially those affected for a second consecutive year."
Carpenter added a decision on non-TAB meetings in November would be made at a later date when there was further clarity on the possibility of spectators attending.
Mount Wycheproof and District Racing Club committee member Jackie Noonan empathised with those clubs which had lost meetings, and given the current COVID climate, was understanding of the decision to make this year's event at Wycheproof spectator-free.
"The club looks forward to welcoming back the community and racing fans to celebrate Derby Day in the Country in 2022," she said.
The Wycheproof Cup (1800m) was last run in 2019, when it was won by Bendigo trainer Jarrod Robinson with Only A Mother, ridden by Juana Andreou.
It's been a two-year gap also since the last Manangatang Cup (2000m), won by Not To Know, ridden by Jessica Eaton.
That victory made it back-to-back wins for the Mitch Freedman-trained galloper after he also won the race in 2018 with Chelsea MacFarlane in the saddle.
In its social media post, the club expressed its sadness over having to cancel cup day.
"I know we said this last year, but we really mean it this time. Next year, we'll be back with the biggest and best Manang races ever held," it read.
"Thank you to Racing Victoria, Country Racing Victoria and the Victorian Government for their generous support.
"A massive thanks to the many people who had already booked tickets. Every booking will be fully refunded."
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