But club officials hope that large area will be their trump card as they argue for greater numbers to be allowed on track both next weekend and for the traditional New Year’s Day meeting when punters clear the cobwebs from celebrations on New Year’s Eve by trying to find the winners of the feature races, the Standish Handicap and the Bagot Handicap.


“We had an application from government authorities for 1000 people for Saturday’s meeting and we have made a further application for 5000 for next Saturday,” the VRC’s new chief executive Steve Rosich said.

“If that’s accepted we would hope that would be a minimum for New Year’s Day, but if we can we would like to get greater numbers, 20,000. But the government will be the ones making the decision.”

The VRC should be pushing at an open door given the MCG is set to allow 30,000 fans per day into the stadium for the Boxing Day cricket Test.

Greg O’Rourke, the head of the A-League, believes that in Victoria, Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City and Western United will be able to welcome crowds of up to 50 per cent capacity in stadia when the new season kicks off on December 27.

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