More prize money for non-TAB Thoroughbreds

​RQ announces prize money increase for non-TAB Thoroughbreds


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Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.

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ALL non-TAB Thoroughbred races in Queensland will rise to $7450 with the payment for first place rising to $5000 from this Saturday, December 15 as part of the State Government’s new $18 million allocation for Thoroughbred prize money.

Racing Queensland chairman Steve Wilson made the announcement last Sunday in the wake of the highly successful $75,000 Country Cups Challenge Final – one of a number of new country racing initiatives introduced by Racing Queensland over the past two years.

Mr Wilson said distribution of the extra $550,000 from the $18 million prize money pool was finalised after consultation with the Country Racing Advisory Panel.

Thanking the government for listening to the Queensland industry and its concerns prior to the recent prize money announcement, Mr Wilson said the prize money increases for both non-TAB and TAB Thoroughbred racing aimed to directly improve cash flow and industry viability for participants and owners. “It is hoped the recent announcements will help lift confidence within the Queensland industry and make it more attractive to race a horse at any of Queensland’s 120 thoroughbred clubs,” he said.

Since the start of January 2017 Racing Queensland has announced a number of enhancements to country and provincial racing including:

  • Introduction of the Country Racing Series – Race To The Reef, Race To Roma, Outback Showcase.
  • Battle of the Bush – featuring qualifiers in 16 regions across the state – and a $100,000 Final held at Doomben during the Winter Racing Carnival.
  • Country Cups Challenge – featuring qualifiers at 16 Country Cups across the state and a $75,000 Final held at Doomben during the Summer Racing Carnival.

Research commissioned by Racing Queensland showed more than 580,000 people attend race meetings in regional areas across Queensland per annum, with multiple social and economic benefits flowing back into local communities. The research led to the government’s decision to announce a $70 million Country Racing Package that will support country racing for four years.

Mr Wilson acknowledged the unique contribution non-TAB thoroughbred racing makes to the state economy each year. “Events such as the Roma and Birdsville Cups continue to draw record attendances and generate multiple economic and social benefits for their respective communities. These events play a critical role in regional Thoroughbred racing’s $444.7 million contribution to the state economy,” he said.

The Golden Eagle highlights spring expansion

A UNIQUE new $7.5 million race – The Golden Eagle – has been launched by Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club to spearhead an expansion of the Spring Carnival in Sydney.

The Golden Eagle – exclusively for 4YOs – will be run over 1500m under set weight conditions at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, November 2, 2019 – the same day the Victoria Derby meeting is held  at Flemington in Melbourne.

Racing NSW Chairman, Russell Balding said The Golden Eagle was the first feature race exclusively for 4YO horses on the Australian Racing Calendar. “We believe The Golden Eagle will be attractive in retaining our top 3YOs to race on as 4YOs and benefit the racing industry – underpinning the strength of racing in NSW and Australia more broadly,” he said.

Balding also announced the creation of the “Golden Slam” which will offer a $5 million bonus for any horse that wins the Golden Slipper, Golden Rose and Golden Eagle in their two, three and four-year-old seasons.

With the $13 million The Everest (1200m) and $7.5 million Golden Eagle now spearheading the Sydney spring carnival, there are $20.5 million reasons for newly-turned 4YO males to remain in training.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys believes the hastiness with which top class colts are retired to stud has cost the industry “millions of dollars in betting revenue”. “I’ve always been told by trainers of the highest ilk that a horse is at its peak as a 4YO. We have 2YO races, 3YO races, why don’t we have a four-year-old races? We want horses to remain in work and give them incentive not to go to stud. That’s where this concept has come from,” he said.

Sydney is now home to the richest and fourth richest turf races in the world and both events (The Everest and Golden Eagle) are scheduled on major spring race days in Victoria. Next year The Everest will fall on Caulfield Cup day while the Golden Eagle is set to clash with Victoria Derby day.

Charities will also be direct beneficiaries with 10 per cent of the $7.5 million prize money  donated to charity. Connections of each runner will nominate a charity that has been accredited with Racing NSW and that charity will receive 10 percent of prize money won by their horse. Accordingly, $750,000 will go to charity. For example, as prize money for first is $4.1 million, the charity nominated by the owners of the winning horse would receive $410,000.

Prize money for the race will be funded entirely from new revenues, rather than drawing on existing revenues of the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry. This new revenue stream will be subject of a separate announcement.

Two additional $1 million races for spring

THE Golden Eagle headlines changes to the program for spring racing in Sydney which will feature a race that highlights each Saturday meeting through to November 9, 2019.

This also includes a new $1 million 3YO and a $1 million 2YO race highlighting Saturday race programs in October and November. The new $1 million Bondi Stakes will be run at Royal Randwick for 3YOs over a distance of 1600m on October 26, 2019.

The race provides a new spring target for 3YOs in Sydney and follows on from races such as the Golden Rose and the Flight Stakes. The Golden Gift – an 1100m race for 2YOs first run by the ATC in 2015 – will now be run for $1 million prizemoney on Saturday, 9 November 2019.

This race provides a focal point for 2YO racing in the spring, with the prize money on offer enough to ensure that the first and second placegetters will gain a berth in the Golden Slipper.

With the addition of these new feature races, the highlight of each spring program in Sydney for 2019 is as follows:

September 7: Chelmsford Stakes (Randwick)

September 14: Run To The Rose (Rosehill)

September 21: George Main Stakes (Randwick)

September 28: Golden Rose (Rosehill)

October 5: Epsom Handicap (Randwick)

October 12: Spring Champion Stakes (Randwick)

October 19: The Everest (Randwick)

October 26: Bondi Stakes (Randwick)

November 2: The Golden Eagle (Rosehill)

November 9: Golden Gift (Rosehill)

Victorian racing remains iconic global event

VICTORIAN race officials believe marquee events of the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival built over more than 150 years will offset future major changes made by Racing NSW to its Spring racing program.

Responding to Racing NSW’s announcement of the new $7.5 million Golden Eagle for 4YOs and two $1 million races for 2YOs and 3YOs, Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson said the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival was an iconic global event that had proven to be a wonderful catalyst in growing Australian racing both locally and on the international stage.

“We are committed to continuing that not only for the benefit of Victoria and our stakeholders, but for the industry nationally who prosper off its existence. The marquee events of the Spring Racing Carnival have been built over more than 150 years and retain an important place in the heart of Australians. This announcement is not going to change that,” he said.

Mr Thompson said the NSW announcement raised issues such as the need for national collaboration and concern about existing Australian Pattern of races. “As administrators it is important that we continually strive to grow the overall fan base for racing and ensure that we are attracting future generations to our sport. It would be in the best interests of Australian racing if we could act more collaboratively as a nation to achieve this,” he said.

While wishing NSW Racing well in its programming initiatives to encourage new people into racing, Mr Thompson said on face value it would appear that there would be an impact on the existing Australian Pattern of races as a result of this announcement and Racing Victoria would be working to understand this over the coming period.

“This announcement has not changed our focus on ensuring that Victorian racing remains successful and continues to deliver nation-high attendances, wagering, field sizes and international participation. Neither has it changed our ongoing commitment to explore opportunities to innovate our racing as we have done most recently with the All-Star Mile,” Mr Thompson said.

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