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Sandown is among the most popular race tracks in the country. It has two tracks, Sandown Lakeside and Sandown Hillsdie.
The Sandown Guineas is held annually in November along with the Zipping Classic.
Sandown provides fantastic win and multi betting opportunities for Elite Racing members. Most horses get a fair winning chance because of the open spaces and long runs to the first turn at most of the starts.
The 1000m races are run out of a chute and the 1200m races and longer are on the course proper.
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Sandown Racecourse was opened on June 19th, 1965 and a record crowd of 52,379 created a chaotic traffic jam as they converged on the new track.
A major ugrade of facilities at Sandown Racecourse was completed during 1999 and its premier race – the Sandown Cup – was reinvented as the Sandown Classic, with increased prizemoney and a change from handicap to weight-for-age conditions.
PROJECT MANIKATO – A BLUEPRINT FOR A RACING RENAISSANCE
The release of the Club’s five year Master Plan known as Project Manikato in October 2001 signaled the dawning of a dynamic new era for the Club. Described as a blueprint for a racing renaissance, Project Manikato outlined the Club’s plan for future – a vision built on a platform of thoroughbred racing excellence.
The strategy and supporting plans grew from an initial proposal put to the Committee by the Club executives through Chief Executive Peter Sweeney in December 2000. In formulating the strategy, the Club’s fundamental objective was to improve the quality of racing. In order to deliver that objective, the Club identified a need to improve confidence in racing by providing fairer racing conditions for the key industry participants – namely owners, trainers, jockeys and punters.
The plan centered around three major areas of the Club’s operations – tracks & facilities, racing & programming and Members’ activities. Contained within the strategy were a number of bold, pioneering initiatives, with the key aspects being as follows:
- The establishment of the “Top 20 Racedays” program at Caulfield from the 2002/2003 season, with all meetings being feature
- The construction of a second turf track at Sandown to be known as Hillside, with the traditional circuit being renamed Lakeside.
- Major upgrade and improvement of facilities, course environs and training tracks at Caulfield.
The change of name from Victoria Amateur Turf Club to Melbourne Racing Club from 1JanuaryThe creation of the Top 20 Racedays format at Caulfield was the major component of an overall strategy to re position Caulfield as a dedicated centre of racing excellence.
- This initiative required Caulfield’s annual schedule to be reduced from 31 race meetings to 20- a level not experienced since the 1982/83 season – with the unique and most notable aspect of the Top 20 initiative being that all 20 fixtures consist of feature race days.But the Top 20 vision would not have been possible without the availability of Sandown, which became the key to accommodating the meetings that were determined for removal from Caulfield’s annual schedule.The resultant strategy involved the commissioning of a major redevelopment project to create a second turf racing circuit at Sandown. Through the construction of an additional 30 metre wide home tum, widening of the main straight to 45 metres and other modification to the existing track, the Club was able to devise a simple but ingenious way of developing two individual circuits at Sandown capable of sharing the remaining 43 race meetings per season without compromising the quality of the racing surface.
That initiative enables the Club to achieve the desired distribution of its 63 racemeetings per season – 20 at Caulfield, 22 on Sandown’s revamped traditional circuit now known as Lakeside and 21 on the new Hillside track at Sandown.
The plan also identified that with three tracks at its disposal,the Club places itself in the enviable position of being able to address its objective of creating improved and fairer racing conditions through minimising rail movement.
In approving the change, the Club considered the Melbourne Racing Club name provides a more accurate reflection of the activities of today’s organisation and is also recognition that the Club’s two racecourses – Caulfield and Sandown – arein close proximity to the geopgraphical centre of Melbourne.