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Moonee Valley Major Redevelopment


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What The Valley's future looks like
www.racing.com
A look at the new Moonee Valley.

The Cox Plate field size will be boosted to a capacity of 16 and The Valley will have a longer straight following its extensive redevelopment, all while retaining the “velodrome type racing experience” it is renowned for, CEO Michael Browell has revealed.

Browell told racing.com that no final decision has been made where their feature races will be held during the track’s closure, including the Cox Plate, revealing there has been interest from a variety of clubs keen to host the race, including outside of Victoria.

The club is today revealing to racing.com new details of how racing will look at The Valley. 

Browell said the new track - will be “a tick over 1700m” compared to its current 1800m circumference  – will now have a straight of 317m, up from 173m. 

The club will also now host wider track, up from 24m to 27m, will see the race fields, including the Cox Plate, capacity increase to 16 runners.

The Valley will move to stage one of its redevelopment following the 2025 Cox Plate, which will see it closed for approximately 18 months.

Browell also told racing.com:

  • A decision on the future destination of its Group 1 races will be made in the next six months, but didn’t rule out even running the Cox Plate at Cranbourne considering the clubs share Ladbrokes as a major sponsor;
  • The club will work with Racing Victoria around a funding model when the club closes and are currently working through its plans for its workforce during the redevelopment;
  • The construction of more than 2000 apartments over the next 15 years and windfall of the club’s development will “ensure the long-term future and the financial sustainability of the club”;
  • Urged Racing Victoria to look at the current racing model, including the number of races, the distribution of funds to clubs while “prizemoney in Victoria needs to reflect the wagering landscape”.

WATCH: The Future Of The Valley from 7.45pm AEDT on channel 68/78, Foxtel 529 and is streamed on racing.com.

A look at the new Moonee Valley.

 

NEW LOOK TRACK

Following the 2025 Cox Plate, the racecourse will undergo its biggest changes since 1883.

“We're now t-minus 23 months before we start the rebuild here at the Valley. First run here in 1883, but after the 2025 Ladbrokes Cox Plate Carnival, of course all of this will be ripped up. We'll turn it around and build The Valley of tomorrow,” he said.

“It'll be very different to what we've known it to be. Of course, the short straight's been a great feature of the Valley and even taking off at the school, the 800-meter mark or even the 600-meter mark, it's really a long straight with that small bend at the home corner there.

“At the moment, we've got the winning post on the western side of the track, a short home straight, which is 173 meters. The track's roughly 1800 meters in circumference.

“When we do the rebuild, the winning post will go back to the northern side, the school side, the famous school side, and the home straight will lengthen out to 317 meters. The track will be a little bit shorter.

“It'll come back to just to tick over 1700 meters in circumference and it'll be a completely different racing experience here at the Valley.

“The camber will be important, though. We'll make sure that the home corner is cambered as much, if not even more than what we've got at the moment to create that velodrome type racing experience.”

WATCH: What does the future hold for The Valley?

 

RETAINING THE ROAR

Extensive work had been done during the design process to ensure the “intimacy” of the Valley would remain.

“That's been the key challenge in all of the work we've done working closely with the consultant team, particularly the architects, but with the new track design, we're actually closer to the racing action,” Browell said.

“The grandstands will be right on top of the home straight. You'll be able to feel like you can reach out and touch the horses. At the furthest point away, you're approximately 200 meters closer than what you are at the moment with the way the track is designed with the long straights running away from the grandstand.”
“The race goers will have a brilliant vista of the track, across the track and then the Melbourne city skyline off into the distance there. We're building what we think will be the best night racing venue in the world.

“As I said, we'll retain that atmosphere, the amphitheatre, the connection that the customers have sitting in the grandstand, standing on the front lawn with the horses as they in the tie-up stalls through to the mounting yard and then out onto the track.”

A look at the new Moonee Valley.

COX PLATE

Browell said the Valley had received interest from other clubs to take its traditional races, including from interstate. Browell said a lack of tracks that share Ladbrokes as a major sponsor “is just one complicating factor”.

Recent speculation suggested Cranbourne could be one possible destination for the Cox Plate, given it too is sponsored by Ladbrokes. Asked about the Cranbourne option, Browell said the Cox Plate and other group 1 races “could be anywhere” during the Valley’s closure.

Asked whether it will stay in Victoria, Browell said “we've had interest from others that are keen to look at it.”

“We're looking at all options at the moment,” he said.

“Flemington, of course, with their four-day carnival. Caulfield’s got a new carnival now, of course with the three meetings that feature the Caulfield Carnival and then post Flemington with the Thousand Guineas and the Zipping Classic race day. There's a lot of moving parts to this, but in the first six months of 2024, we want to resolve those questions.

“I would think it would be staying in Victoria, but that's not to say that we wouldn't look at all possible options.”

  • Where will Valley features be run?
    6 December, 2023
    coxplatestart2022-660x380.jpg

FINANCIAL SECURITY

The club posted an operating loss of just over $8.1million for 2022/23, which Browell said reflected the investment into the redevelopment. He said the eventual upside from the major works will set the club up long-term.

“We've got a really strong balance sheet. The challenge we have through the redevelopment is converting the land value into the new track and then a surplus fund at the end of it,” he said.

“It's interesting the way the P&L [profit and loss report] works in with the balance sheet here at the moment. We made an EBITDA profit of almost $5 million, which was a fantastic result. But all of the financials for the redevelopment are going through our P&L.

“The profits from the redevelopment that the club will share will go into the new racecourse, the new grand stand. We've allocated $200 million towards that, which the club will fully fund and then there'll be a surplus fund that will be left with the club after the redevelopment's completed for us to invest to ensure the long-term future and the financial sustainability of the club.”

WATCH: The Future Of The Valley from 7.45pm AEDT on channel 68/78, Foxtel 529 and is streamed on racing.com.

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