Record prizemoney will be on offer in Victoria for the 2017-18 racing season after Racing Victoria (RV) today announced a $15.5 million increase with effect from 1 August 2017.
All owners, trainers and jockeys will get the chance to share in the increases which are spread from prestigious Group 1 races to once-a-year picnic race meetings throughout country Victoria.
For the first time, more than $200 million in prizemoney and bonuses will be on offer in Victoria with a total of $214 million up for grabs throughout next season.
The highlights of today’s announcement, which brings to $40 million the quantum of increases in Victoria since May 2015, are:
- A bigger, better Spring Racing Carnival to launch on the first weekend of spring with a $1 million Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) – up from $500,000 in 2016 – at Caulfield on Saturday, 2 September and the Scobie Breasley Medal on Sunday night, 3 September;
- An enhanced program of weight-for-age racing during the Spring Racing Carnival with the following prizemoney increases in addition to the Memsie Stakes:
$750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m, Flemington, 16 September) – up $250,000
$750,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m, Caulfield, 1 October) – up $250,000
$1 million Caulfield Stakes (2000m, Caulfield, 14 October) – up $400,000
- The positioning of Victoria as the place to race three-year-olds with minimum prizemoney for Saturday metropolitan races raised to $120,000 and the following feature race increases announced for the age group:
$2 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m, Caulfield, 14 October) – up $1 million
$1 million Coolmore Stakes (1200m, Flemington, 4 November) – up $500,000
$1 million Australian Guineas (1600m, Flemington, 3 March) – up $250,000
- The affirmation of Victoria’s status as ‘the home of the stayer’ with minimum prizemoney of $120,000 for all Saturday metropolitan races over 2000m or further – an increase of 50% for some classes;
- The introduction of a $100,000 minimum for standard Saturday metropolitan races in addition to the premium increase for three-year-old and staying races (2000m+);
- Over $6 million in additional funding for country racing prizemoney including a 50% increase in minimum funding for popular picnic races;
- Greater returns for first time winners with minimum prizemoney for standard country maidens raised by 10% to $22,000, for premium country maidens to $25,000 and for maidens at country night meetings to $27,000; and
- In line with national policy the allocation of 1% of prizemoney to both jockey welfare and equine welfare to fund investment in programs, services and initiatives.
RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said that the increases were possible due to the positive health of Victorian racing and come following the completion of a strategic prizemoney review throughout the first quarter of 2017.
“Victorian racing is performing well. With great racing on well-presented tracks customer interest in Victorian racing is at record levels this season with wagering growth of 9% and a growing pool of over 60,000 owners. The financial health of our industry is strong and provides the opportunity to make sustainable investments in prizemoney,” Thompson said.
“Our vision is ‘Racing for All’ and there is something for all owners, trainers and jockeys within these prizemoney increases which are spread from Flemington to Buchan.
“The Spring Racing Carnival is the premier racing carnival in Australia and we remain committed to rewarding those owners, trainers and jockeys that support our Carnival which will begin on the first weekend of September with the $1 million Memsie Stakes.
“We are committed to cementing Victoria’s position as the place to race three-year-olds and stayers which is why we’ve focused enhanced investment in those areas, while at the same time increasing standard Saturday metropolitan minimums across the board.
“A horse’s first win can be both its most challenging and rewarding for connections, which is why we’re pleased to increase the minimum prizemoney for maiden races by 10%, while also making an important investment at our grass roots in picnic racing.
“As an industry, we are all committed to equine welfare and jockey welfare and Victoria will come into line with national policy from next season by allocating 1% of prizemoney to each.”
Australian Trainers Association (ATA) Chief Executive, Andrew Nicholl, said, “We know that trainers will welcome this announcement by RV and we’re really pleased that the review process involved significant engagement by RV with the ATA and trainers, with much of that feedback being used to help design the increases announced today.
“These prizemoney increases offer a really balanced outcome, with increases for the grass roots regional participant through to the metropolitan trainer. It is also great to see an increase to a number of our iconic Victorian Group races.”
Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) Executive Officer, Matt Hyland, said, “Today’s announcement is indicative of the strength of racing in this state and acknowledges the important role that jockeys play within the industry through the contribution to their welfare.
“It is great to see that both professional and amateur jockeys will get to share in the increases next season.”
Victorian Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association (TROA) Chairman, Jonathan Munz, strongly supported the announced prizemoney increases stating, “TROA has been aggressively pushing for much needed prizemoney increases in Victoria and is pleased that RV has responded positively.
“This is a good result for owners and the industry and reflects an appreciation of the on-going importance of prizemoney to drive betting turnover and attract and retain investment in thoroughbred racing and breeding.
“TROA will continue to lobby to maximise prizemoney for the benefit of owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys and other stakeholders and to ensure the racing industry is run efficiently.”