VICTORIA will feature only one competitive race meeting in the state today.
And it will be held in Echuca.
The meeting has been transferred from Seymour.
Due to the situation at the Seymour race course — where Racing Victoria has suspended racing pending further investigation of the quality of the track’s surface — Echuca will step up to host.
And with it being the only meeting in the state, some of the biggest names in racing will have runners featured.
Names such as Gai Waterhouse and Anthony Freedman have runners entered, to go along with the usual local suspects — Johnstone, Cornish Gaskin and Archard.
It will also be a first time for many of the runners involved.
Ten of the 13 horses named to run in race one will be featuring in their first ever event, contributing towards 12 horses overall that will be making their debuts at the event.
Mick Johnstone said it was fantastic for local trainers to get another group of runners at a local event.
‘‘It’s fantastic for all of us,’’ he said.
‘‘We don’t have to do a great deal of travelling, not that Seymour would have been far away, but it means that you don’t have to worry about your runners being put through the tip.
‘‘It also means we can probably run some that we otherwise wouldn’t have as we don’t need to take them. That’s the advantage of being just on the edge of the course as well for our stable, they can just walk down the track!’’
Johnstone spoke highly of the quality of the field.
‘‘It’s fantastic to get this kind of talent to be out at the event, it’s some of Australia’s racing royalty.
‘‘We are lucky that a lot of trainers will now get around to the smaller events if the prize money is good, so you do get to meet some of these bigger trainers out and about. But you’d be hard pressed to find this many in the one place at a smaller country meeting.’’
Racing kicks off at 1.30pm with the Pevensey Motor Lodge 2YO Fillies Maiden Plate.