KEMBLA Grange Chief Executive Peter de Vries says parting ways with the Keith Nolan moniker for the club’s three-year-old fillies classic was a sacrifice made to help secure a ground-breaking new sponsorship deal with Arrowfield Stud.
The club announced on Monday that it’s Group 3 feature would be known as the Arrowfield Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) from next year.
The race had been named in honour of the club’s founding chairman, who passed away in 2005. The grandstand on course is also named after Nolan.
“It was determined by the board that we needed to change the name and shorten to make it more appealing to a variety of sponsors,” de Vries said.
“When we did that and went out into the market place to find out if anyone was interested it certainly occurred.”
De Vries said there were no plans to revive the Keith Nolan title in another race.
Arrowfield will continue to sponsor the event for the coming seasons.
“To get a sponsor like Arrowfield, who are really an icon in the breeding industry, is really a great advantage for the Illawarra Turf Club,” de Vries said.
“It is a mark of respect to the quality of the race that Arrowfield want to sponsor it.”
The 2016 edition of the Classic will be held on Friday, 11 March.
The A.J. Bert Lillye Memorial, the Kembla Grange Stayers Cup and the club’s Provincial Championships heat will also be on the same card.
Kembla officials moved the race day to the Friday time-slot for 2015.
They will continue that trend in 2016 as the club attempts to further establish it’s biggest race day in the busy Autumn Carnival.
“We went from originally a mid-week meeting to the Sunday. We tried it for five or six years and it wasn’t working,” de Vries said.
“We found Sunday’s aren’t really good for racing in the Illawarra.
“They are in other areas but not down here it seems.
“We have moved it back to the Friday and we have to give it a number of years to prove itself.
“The other factor associated with it is it is now also the meeting of which the Provincial Championships qualifier is on so the timing suits well.”
Bede Murray trained the quinella in last year’s Provincial Championships qualifier when Darci Magic narrowly edged out O'Reilly's Revenge.
His third qualifier, Sure And Fast, went on to win the inaugural final at Royal Randwick.
The fillies feature was taken out by Jason Coyle-trained Slightly Sweet, ridden by Kathy O’Hara.
The classic is one of the key lead-up races to the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) in recent years.