MRC open to Everest slot again: Le Grand

Melbourne Racing Club chairman Peter Le Grand says the MRC will again discuss the ATC Everest slot.

Melbourne Racing Club chairman Peter Le Grand says he will continue to foster relationships with interstate racing bodies including NSW.

He was responding to criticism by Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger over the MRC’s decision to buy a slot in the 2019 Everest, Australia’s richest race held at Randwick.

The MRC bought the slot held by the Australian Turf Club and Le Grand said he and chief executive Josh Blanksby would again discuss their options.

Kruger said on Wednesday he felt the MRC involvement in the Everest which was run on Caulfield Cup day, was an endorsement of NSW encroaching on the spring carnival, traditionally the domain of Victoria.

“There hasn’t been any criticism from our members or the public. The only person I’ve heard criticise it is Brian Kruger,” Le Grand told Sky Sports Radio on Thursday.

“We are trying to build relationships with New South Wales after hand grenades were thrown from one side to the other.”

Le Grand said he had a great relationship with ATC chairman Matt McGrath and Neville Bell of the Brisbane Racing Club.

As part of the Everest deal, the winner of the Schillaci Stakes a week before the $14 million race gained the MRC slot.

Trekking won the Schillaci and ran third in the Everest.

Le Grand said if the club was involved again, moving the Schillaci was a consideration.

“We haven’t made a decision this year but we will be talking to the ATC,” he said.

“If we go again, moving the Schillaci back a week will be one of considerations.

“It wasn’t ideal a week beforehand but it didn’t seem to bother Trekking.”

Le Grand said the board of the MRC would meet at the end of the month and would analyse all the results of the spring including the Everest.

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