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This Weekend Is The Ultimate Sydney Vs Melbourne Turf War

This showdown won't be fought on the beaches, or in the laneways, or in any of the usual locations.

No, the latest instalment of the bitter rivalry between Australia's two most populous cities will be fought on a place dear to every Melburnian's heart: the sporting field.

Specifically, it will play out on racecourses, when The TAB Everest horse race takes place at Sydney's Royal Randwick Racecourse just one hour before the Caulfield Cup at Melbourne's Caulfield Racecourse.

This is extremely controversial.

This is Peter Piras, part-owner of Redzel, which won The Everest in its inaugural year of 2017, and again in 2018. We're guessing he doesn't care when it's run. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images for The ATC)

READ MORE: The 2019 Everest Barrier Draw Was Projected On Sydney Harbour Bridge In Beautiful Compromise

The Caulfield Cup has been going since 1879. It's a time-honoured test of stamina which is a key stepping stone to the Melbourne Cup.

By contrast, The Everest has been around three years. It's a totally different type of race for all sorts of reasons. For starters, it's a sprint race over 1200 metres. It also has totally unique entry conditions, where owners can buy their way in, rather than qualify.

Oh, and it's the world's richest race on turf, with prizemoney of $14 million compared to the Caulfield Cup's $5 million.

Buying your way in for a chance at obscene riches. So very, very Sydney. Still, you can't knock the class of the entertainment for punters.

In the past, Melbourne and Sydney racing authorities have politely nodded to each other, and scheduled lesser events on the rival city's major race days.

But Racing NSW boss Peter V'landys -- who came up with the idea and the name of The Everest -- is not one to nod politely. You might remember him as a key player in last year's stoush over projecting the barrier draw for The Everest on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

V'landys infuriated the Melbourne establishment recently when he said the Melbourne Cup should be moved to a later date in November.

READ MORE: Dear Racing Bosses: Keep Your Hoofs Off The Melbourne Cup Date

As for the near-clash between The Everest and the Caulfield Cup -- which last year were a week apart -- well, maybe it's an aggressive move, but it also appears the calendar has sort of just fallen that way.

And this is Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of last year's Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution, who appears to be holding a different finger aloft to the gentleman in the photo a little higher up the page. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

The Everest could have been staged last week in Sydney, but NSW Racing wanted two weeks of air time to generate publicity and ticket sales after the hype around the NRL Grand Final.

That's why it's on this weekend, and there's probably not too much more sinister going on.

That said, the timing of the race on Caulfield Cup day is still a bit of a shot across the bow from Racing NSW because, as stated, such clashes were avoided in the past.

These days, if you'll excuse the pun, there's definitely a bit of an interstate turf war taking place.