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Warrnambool Carnival May Move To June To Save Jumps
Warrnambool "may have to move its century-old Grand Annual carnival to June if jumps racing is to survive," reported The Herald-Sun. Racing Victoria chief strategist Paul Bittar said it was "illogical" that jumps racing held its "grand finals" - Oakbank in Adelaide at Easter & Warrnambool in the 1st week of May - early in the season. Asked if Warrnambool's traditional May carnival might be shifted, Bittar said "nothing should be off the table". He confirmed there had been "unofficial talks about the structure of the racing season" & that Warrnambool's dates "had been discussed". Bittar said having Oakbank & Warrnambool so soon after the start of the season left jumps racing vulnerable (to more falls & injuries), noting: "It's akin to Cheltenham & Aintree (the UK flagship jumps meetings) being run in October. It's illogical. There's no doubt we have to look at the whole program. If the future of the sport is about improving the safety of the sport, you can't avoid things that are illogical in your consideration of what is best for safety. There are a lot of people in jumps racing that are now cognisant of the safety issues because they know the future of the sport is about the safety of the sport."