Published on Racing.com by Paul Tatnell @PaulTatnell - 24 May 2021
A coalition of powerful racing voices have joined forces in a prizemoney plan worth an extra $20 million a year, to match recent increases from NSW.
The Thoroughbred Racehorse Owner’s Association [TROA] has submitted a detailed proposal to the Racing Victoria board, which includes more than $5 million in extra stakes money for Group 1 winners as well as a new $5,000 per race maiden bonus.
According to the TROA, the submission proposes to rectify the imbalance between stakes and Saturday races, increases prize money for maiden and metro midweek races and seeks to re-allocate some of the All-Star Mile prizemoney.
The proposal has the backing of the Victorian Jockeys Association and The Australian Trainers Association. The RV board will discuss the plan, as well as other key submissions, this week.
The extra $20 million in prizemoney spend by RV would match recent increases by Racing NSW, seen as crucial by TROA for Victoria to remain competitive.
The proposed changes include:
• Boost listed race prizemoney from $140,000 to $200,000 per race, costing $2.87 million a year
• Raise Group 3 prizemoney from $160,000 by $250,000 each race, costing $3.91 million a year
• Increase Group 2 prizemoney from $200,000 to $300,000 per race, worth $2.1 million
• Boosting Group 1 prizemoney by $5.625 million a year
• Maintain the All-Star Mile as a major race, but reduce the prize money from $5million to $2million
• Eliminating the All-Star Mile marketing budget, which TROA estimates to be $2 million
• Include a new maiden bonus of $5,000 per race, costing $7.12 million
• Increase Metro midweek prize money by $10,000 per race, from $50,000 to $60,000, at a total cost of $3.65 million
Of the prizemoney increase, the submission proposes $5 million is found via savings on the All-Star Mile, with the extra $20 million allocation is 7.8% over three years increase from the current yearly level of $255 million and would start from August 1. According to the submission, there has been no prizemoney increases since 2019.
VJA boss Matt Hyland and ATA CEO Andrew Nicholl have both written to RV in support of the proposals.
It’s believed that of the key areas of the TROA submission likely to be supported by RV will be the rectification of the discrepancy between Saturday metropolitan races and stakes race minimums, which the submission says is a significant issue.
“Everyone agrees that the lack of differential between Saturday Metropolitan races ($125,000 and $135,000) and stakes race minimums ($140,000 for Listed races, $160,000 for Group 3 races and $200,000 for Group 2 races) is a major problem, with that distortion having been ignored and become progressively worse over many years,” the proposal read.
“It is now an embarrassment and needs to be fixed.”
The TROA said it also supports the ATA’s push for increase for certain Group 1 races, but argues that club’s should be consulted before any race receives a boost.
“We strongly agree in principle with the ATA that certain races need a boost, however this requires further discussion. We therefore recommend that prizemoney levels for Group 1 and other priority races be discussed and workshopped with the Race Clubs, ATA and TROA, taking into account which races we respectively believe need prioritising and beefing up and taking into account the comparison and assessment of the position in NSW."
While the All-Star Mile is locked in for 2022 and beyond, there is support amongst some in racing to cut back on money spent on the race.
Several senior racing figures are supportive of reducing prize money for the race in a bid to address other areas that need a cash boost.
The TROA proposal to reduce the All-Star Mile prize money from $5 million to $2 million is expected to be strongly resisted by some within RV.
“A lot of senior people at RV love the All-Star Mile. They don’t seem to realise that everyone else in the Industry, including the Metro Race Clubs, think that it can still be a great race with $2 million prizemoney and the other $5 million better spent on other races,” TROA Chairman Jonathan Munz said.
“They try and justify it by claiming that it is bringing in new customers and engagement, but that simply does not stack up.
“In addition, the All-Star Mile Raceday does not generate crowds or betting turnover that would even remotely justify the cost and effort outlaid.
"I also have a fundamental problem with RVL spending a fortune on a separate marketing initiative run by them for just one race, when the Race Clubs employ their own marketing people and market all their other races without outside help.
"Even if the All-Star Mile was to receive Group 1 Status, it would be a strong Group 1 race with $1 million prizemoney and we are making a concession to RVL in suggesting a reduction to $2 million . There needs to be a bit of an intervention so we can get a commonsense result."