Valley gears up for Caviar's state farewell
"If Black Caviar does not accept, all tickets will be refundable" ... Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive, Michael Browell. Photo: Getty Images
BLACK CAVIAR's farewell start in the state is expected to attract 25,000 people to Moonee Valley, and Racing Victoria is negotiating with the AFL and Channel Seven to have the race telecast live at half-time during the opening match of the season, between Adelaide and Essendon.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club has launched an ambitious marketing program to honour Australia's greatest sprinter, drastically altering its Friday, March 22 meeting to accommodate the capacity crowd expected to watch Black Caviar compete in the $400,000 William Reid Stakes and notch her 24th straight victory.
The club's chief executive, Michael Browell, said grandstand and dining packages would go on sale on Monday and 12,000 general admission tickets would be available from Ticketek on March 1. ''We feel that the packages and members' guests should account for 13,000 of the crowd, that's why we've capped the general admission to 12,000,'' Browell said.
''We are hoping to get a crowd of over 25,000 but we've placed a stipulation that if Black Caviar does not accept, all tickets will be refundable.
''We have brought the acceptance day back to the Monday prior to the Friday night meeting and we're in the process of making Black Caviar's appearance at Moonee Valley a special night.''
The club will also bring the starting time of the first race back from 6.45pm to 5.45pm. Race seven, the second-last, will be at 8.45pm and the William Reid an hour later at 9.45pm. ''The hour break will ensure that we give Black Caviar and all her followers a great night of entertainment,'' Browell said.
Negotiations to have a one-hour package on Seven Two are under way, however, the industry is hoping that Black Caviar's race could be shown at half-time during the Crows-Bombers clash.
When Black Caviar romped away with the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley in January last year, the Seven Network interrupted its coverage of the Australian Open men's singles semi-final to broadcast the race.
Trainer Peter Moody announced early last week that a Newmarket Handicap start had been ruled out, which gave Moonee Valley a month to promote the final Victorian start of the world's fastest mare.
After the William Reid, Black Caviar is expected to journey to Sydney for the TJ Smith and/or All Aged stakes at Randwick, and then on to Brisbane, following a similar pattern to 2011.