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Racing Victoria (RV) has unveiled a series of enhancements to its racing program for the 2013-14 season that are aimed at providing further earning opportunities for all participants.

The enhancements, which take effect from 1 August 2013, are also designed to better manage the racehorse population and promote wagering growth which is ultimately returned to the industry through prizemoney and investment in infrastructure.

Following are the enhancements to the 2013-14 Victorian racing program;

  1. Additional Races – More owners will get to experience the thrill of a ‘city winner’ with the addition of an 8th race at all midweek metropolitan meetings. Currently only 7 races are programmed at these meetings from August – March.
  2. Richer Maidens – Each midweek metropolitan meeting will now carry a $25,000 maiden providing owners with the opportunity for a more lucrative return. A number of these races will also carry the coveted Super VOBIS and/or VOBIS Gold bonuses.
  3. Staying Bonuses – To further Victoria’s commitment to staying races, a $9000 Super VOBIS bonus will now be on offer on every maiden of 2000m or greater. The bonus, on more than 90 races, will be available to all eligible horses, irrespective of age.
  4. Free Acceptances – To reduce owners’ costs and encourage participation, there will be no acceptance fee on all two-year-old Group and Listed races (18 in total), except for the Blue Diamond Stakes finale. This represents a saving of $120,000 for owners.
  5. Ratings Revision – Amendments to ratings based races to more closely align the program with the horse population and provide a larger variance between bands. From 1 August, the ratings bands will be 0-58, 0-64, 0-70, 0-78, 0-84, 0-90 and 0-96 with Benchmarks applied on selected races as part of the programming spread.
  6. International Target – October’s Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley has been increased from $750,000 to $1 million to provide Victorian racing with another focal point to attract international participation and reward all owners.
  7. Greater Prestige – Further opportunities exist for owners to enhance the value of their horse with 21 Victorian races receiving a black type upgrade next season including three new Group 1 races in the Moir Stakes (1200m, Moonee Valley), Memsie Stakes (1400m, Caulfield) and Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m, Flemington).
  8. Feature Increases – Prizemoney has been increased for six upgraded Group races; o G1 Moir Stakes (1200m, Moonee Valley) - up $150,000 to $450,000 o G1 Memsie Stakes (1400m, Caulfield) – up $130,000 to $350,000 o G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m, Flemington) – up $50,000 to $350,000 o G2 Ian McEwen Trophy (1000m, Moonee Valley) – up $25,000 to $175,000 o G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m, Caulfield) – up $25,000 to $175,000 o G2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m, Caulfield) – up $25,000 to $175,000
  9. Bigger Racedays – A 10th race of at least $80,000 has been added to Sportingbet Cox Plate Day, BECK Caulfield Guineas Day and Turnbull Stakes Day to enhance wagering and provide another ownership group with a memorable experience.
  10. More Gold – The expansion of the VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series from five to 10 races offering two and three-year-olds $1.8 million in prizemoney to support Victorian breeders and reward owners for participating in Victoria.

The 2013-14 racing season will see RV offer $160.3 million in prizemoney across 568 meetings, which will be split 110 metropolitan, 424 country and 33 picnic.

RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said, that whilst all sectors of the industry would benefit from the enhancements, owners were a focal point in RV’s planning for next season.

“The 2013-14 racing season will offer more opportunities for owners to win races, especially in the city, and the chance to earn a greater return on their investment,”Saundry said.

“In particular, those who choose to breed or race Victorian horses will be rewarded with our enhancements to VOBIS Gold and the new Super VOBIS bonuses for staying maidens.

“We’re particularly pleased to offer a $25,000 maiden at each midweek metropolitan meeting so that winning owners can enhance their initial return, whilst enjoying the thrill of a city win.

“It is important for the industry that we maximise opportunities to grow wagering and a number of next season’s enhancements also serve to stimulate investment in Victorian racing.

“Any growth we can generate in wagering will be returned to the industry via prizemoney and infrastructure upgrades in the future so that has been fundamental to our decision making.”

Saundry added that the enhanced feature race program would ensure Victorian racing remained an international leader, particularly during the Spring Racing Carnival.

“The black type upgrades only serve to enhance the attraction and prestige of our feature race calendar and stimulate increased international and interstate participation,”Saundry said.

“Spring is our peak period and we have looked to build upon that with the addition of a 10th race on three feature days, whilst welcoming three new Group 1 highlights during this time.”