A bumper $97.5m in prizemoney and bonuses will be up for grabs during the 2020 Spring Carnival.
Racing Victoria on Tuesday confirmed the purses for flagship races, including the $8m Melbourne Cup, $5m Caulfield Cup and $5m Cox Plate.
The minimum prizemoney in Victoria will also be restored to pre-COVID-19 levels from August 1 following reductions of 20 per cent (city) and 10 per cent (country) during the pandemic.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus health crisis, Racing Victoria reduced the prizemoney of 12 of the 114 Group and Listed races over the carnival, totalling $2.25m.
Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson attributed the reduction to some feature races to the loss of significant impact of the pandemic on clubs’ earning capacity.
“We have reviewed our prizemoney contributions and the historical top-ups from clubs on their feature races to determine what is appropriate in an environment where such great uncertainty remains here in Victoria,” Thompson said.
“The uncertainty around crowds means there are no guarantees at present for clubs around their Spring revenues.
“Investment in the Spring Racing Carnival and its flagship races ensures the quality of our premier racing event is maintained to maximise engagement by fans and punters, whilst rewarding those owners and trainers who campaign their horses in Victoria.”
Leading trainers, including premiership leader Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, warned about the potential to campaign horses in NSW had Victoria not returned prizemoney levels.
Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners’ Association chairman Jonathan Munz welcomed the prizemoney reinstatement for the major races.
“Everyone has done a good job under difficult circumstances,” Munz said.
“Prizemoney has been largely reinstated to pre-COVID-19 levels with a few smaller cuts due to the temporary financial difficulties of the clubs. Racing Minister Martin Pakula has been great and the State Government has been very helpful. Everyone fully intends to completely reinstate and indeed increase prizemoney levels next year.”
But Munz flagged a need for Racing Victoria and the metropolitan clubs to streamline operations.
“That being said, this is an opportunity for RVL and the clubs to take a hard look at getting some operational efficiencies and overhead reductions. Including, even the potential merger of race clubs as has occurred in NSW,” he said.
Key spring features at The Valley, including the Group 1 Moir Stakes ($1m), Group 1 Manikato Stakes ($1m) and the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup ($500,000) remain at the record prizemoney levels.
Also, the Group 2 Feehan Stakes ($250,000) on September 5 now becomes a “golden ticket” for the winner into the $5m Cox Plate.
The affected races include:
- Kennedy Cantala (G1, 1600m, Flemington) - $1.5 million (down from $2 million)
- Darley Sprint Classic (G1, 1200m, Flemington) - $1.5 million (down from $2 million)
- Memsie Stakes (G1, 1400m, Caulfield) - $750,000 (down from $1 million)
- Herbert Power Stakes (G2, 2400m, Caulfield) - $300,000 (down from $400,000)
- Schillaci Stakes (G2, 1100m, Caulfield) - $300,000 (down from $400,000)
- Zipping Classic (G2, 2400m, Ladbrokes Park) - $250,000 (down from $300,000)
- Blue Sapphire Classic (G3, 1200m, Caulfield) - $400,000 (down from $500,000)
- Caulfield Classic (G3, 2000m, Caulfield) - $250,000 (down from $350,000)
- Carbine Club Stakes (G3, 1600m, Flemington) - $250,000 (down from $500,000)
- Lexus Hotham Handicap* (G3, 2500m, Flemington) - $200,000 (down from $300,000)
- Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G3, 2600m, Flemington) - $200,000 (down from $300,000)
- Red Roses Stakes (G3, 1100m, Flemington) - $200,000 (down from $300,000)
Source: Gilbert Gardiner - Herald Sun