NSW racing has been given a massive $20 million annual prizemoney boost including significant increases to some of Sydney’s feature spring carnival races.
Racing NSW chairman Russell Balding announced on Wednesday the prizemoney package includes minimum Sydney Saturday prizemoney rising to $130,000 per race and stakes increases for country racing that will come into effect from July 1, the start of the new financial year.
The prizemoney increases for feature Group 1 races like the Epsom Handicap, which has a stakes surge $500,000 to $1.5 million, coincides with the introduction of a new metropolitan Saturday race, the $100,000 Midway, which caters for those horses trained at the provincials or in smaller city stables.
The TAB Highways, which is restricted to country-trained horses, has also received a prizemoney boost to $100,000 per race (up from $75,000) and with the introduction of the Midway, this means Sydney Saturday meetings will now have a minimum of 10 races each week.
TAB Highway races will be worth $100,000 per race from July 1. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
An additional $9 million has been poured into country racing prizemoney, including non-TAB and picnic races. The total prizemoney increases paid for NSW country racing is more than $91 million annually, an increase of $58 million since 2012.
Minister for Racing Kevin Anderson said the huge prizemoney increases across the metropolitan, provincial and country racing sectors is “the shot in the arm the racing industry needs to continue to create jobs and create investment in NSW.’’
“The racing industry is a significant driver of the NSW economy, particularly through 2020 when racing continued when other industries were shut down,’’ he said.
“It is great to see continued increases in prizemoney, particularly to the country areas, the grassroots of racing, which will only broaden and strengthen racing in NSW.
“Everybody wants to race for good prizemoney, it attracts new people to the industry, improves the quality of horses in the regional areas where we have some of the best trainers and jockeys, and this will just lift the profile of country racing.’’
The Flight Stakes is among the feature races to receive a major prizemoney boost. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The success of mega-rich races The Everest and Golden Eagle in recent years has given the Sydney spring carnival new impetus and Racing NSW chairman Russell Balding felt it was imperative that traditional feature races also received prizemoney increases.
“Racing in NSW is going from strength to strength and is in a very strong position,’’ Balding said. “Fields sizes are up, the quality of our fields are increasing and importantly our (wagering) turnover is also up.
“We are pleased to be able to announce these significant increases in prizemoney will benefit country races as well as the Saturday metropolitan race meeting each week.
“We also want to make sure out traditional spring feature races continue to attract quality fields and maintain their prizemoney relativity.’’
Balding said apart from the Epsom Handicap prizemoney increase, the Group 1 Flight Stakes is now worth $750,000 (up from $500,000) and the Group 2 Villiers Stakes has been given a $500,000 stakes injection to $750,000.
All Sydney Saturday meetings will feature 10 races, including Highway and Midway races. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Racing NSW announced a new $1 million bonus for any horse that wins both the Craven Plate and Rosehill Gold Cup. Both of those 2000m races are now worth $750,000, up $250,000.
There are two more $500,000 feature races to be included in the spring carnival, although race distances and conditions are still to be determined.
The introduction of $1 million races, The Hunter (Newcastle) and The Gong (Kembla Grange), have been such a success Racing NSW has announced two new $200,000 lead-up races into the provincial features.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said the 10-race Sydney Saturday meetings will stimulate betting activity.
“By having 10 races each Saturday, it will generate significant turnover increases,’’ V’landys said. “I believe the Midway will be like the TAB Highways which has exceeded all expectations on turnover.’’
V’landys said the Midway concept was widely canvassed with industry participants and “they are in favour of it”.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys is excited about the introduction of the Midway races to Sydney Saturday meetings. Picture: Jonathan NgSource:Supplied
“It was actually (trainer) Richard Freedman who put this concept to me a few years ago,’’ V’landys said. “The provincial and smaller metropolitan trainers didn’t get the opportunity to race for a Highway-like race each Saturday but soon they will have a $100,000 race each week which will help them attract new owners.’’
Freedman, who co-trains with his brother Michael, said there are no losers with the introduction of the Midways as it is a new race that was being added to the existing Saturday program.
“Every metropolitan trainer will be keen to ‘outgrow’ the Midways because that will mean your stable is having plenty of success,’’ Freedman said.
Australian Turf Club deputy chair Julia Ritchie welcomed the feature race prizemoney increases.
“Our spring carnival will be boosted by prizemoney increases for iconic races such as the Epsom Handicap, while also developing the carnival’s middle-distance program,’’ Ritchie said. “It is pleasing that the Villiers has been recognised with these prizemoney increases.’’
Originally published asRich rewards: Prizemoney bonanza for NSW racing
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