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Racing Victoria (RV) has today released its race dates and prizemoney schedule for the 2022-23 racing season which will feature 554 race meetings from Monday, 1 August 2022.

Victorian prizemoney will reach record heights next season with $314 million in prizemoney and bonuses on offer – the first time this figure has surpassed $300 million. It represents an increase of $140 million, or 80 per cent, since 2015 and will see the average prizemoney and bonuses on offer per race in Victoria remain at a nation high figure, climbing to more than $72,600.

The 2022-23 total sees an annual uplift of $26.2 million in prizemoney and VOBIS bonuses on offer, with increases spread from country minimums to Group 1 races. It includes more than $11 million in additional funding for minimum prizemoney, with over $7 million of that allocated to country races. 

The prizemoney and VOBIS increases are achievable off the back of outstanding engagement, strong wagering returns, sound fiscal management and the hard work of all within Victorian racing to navigate the COVID pandemic.

They are being made to drive continued investment in the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry – which adds over $3.4 billion in real gross value to the Victorian economy annually, while supporting the equivalent of more than 25,700 full-time jobs. 

In delivering today’s announcement, RV also flagged its intention to review industry performance throughout the second half of 2022 before making a final determination on prizemoney for the 2023 Festival of Racing next February and March.

The major prizemoney announcements, programming enhancements and changes to race dates for the 2022-23 racing season announced today are as follows:

2022 Melbourne Cup Carnival

Australia’s greatest week of racing, the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington, is set to undergo the following enhancements:

  • The final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival will now be known as VRC Champions Stakes Day (Saturday, 5 November) and prizemoney for the raceday has been increased to $10 million;
  • The Cantala Stakes will be moved from Penfolds Victoria Derby Day (Saturday, 29 October) to VRC Champions Stakes Day (Saturday, 5 November) and will be renamed the Kennedy Champions Mile to create a spectacular finale to the week at Flemington with three Group 1 weight-for-age contests;
  • Prizemoney for the Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m) has been boosted from $2 million to $3 million with the race to now be run under weight-for-age conditions;
  • Prizemoney for the Group 1 Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) and the Group 1 VRC Champions Stakes (2000m), registered as the Mackinnon Stakes, both held on VRC Champions Stakes Day, have also been increased to $3 million (up from $2 million); and
  • Prizemoney for the stallion-making Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m, 3YO) will increase by $500,000 to $2 million – the purse also on offer for the headline Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m, 3YO) on the same 29 October program.

Feature Spring Racing Carnival Increases

In addition to the changes outlined for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, prizemoney has also been increased for marquee races during the Caulfield Cup Carnival and Cox Plate Carnival at The Valley.

The Caulfield Guineas’ status as the nation’s most coveted three-year-old mile has been solidified with a major boost, while the Manikato Stakes becomes the richest race under lights in Australia.

Feature races to be allocated a prizemoney increase for the 2022 Spring Racing Carnival are:

  • Group 1 Neds Caulfield Guineas (1600m, Caulfield, 8 October) – $3 million (up $1 million)
  • Group 1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m, The Valley, 21 October) – $2 million (up $1 million)
  • Group 2 Drummond Golf Vase (2040m, The Valley, 22 October) – $500,000 (up $200,000)
  • Group 3 bet365 Geelong Cup (2400m, Geelong, 19 October) - $500,000 (up $100,000)
  • Group 3 Apiam Bendigo Cup (2400m, Bendigo, 26 October) – $500,000 (up $100,000)
  • Listed bet365 Kilmore Cup (1600m, Kilmore, 20 November) - $200,000 (up $40,000)

2023 Festival of Racing

Following requests from participants and racing fans to change the feature race structure during the Festival of Racing and to extend Victoria’s Group 1 program deeper into autumn, the following enhancements have been made for 2023:

  • The Group 1 TAB Australian Cup (2000m, WFA) at Flemington, has been pushed back two weeks and will be held on the last weekend in March (Saturday, 25 March 2023). As part of the move, prizemoney for the time-honoured race has doubled to $3 million with the support program to be announced at a later date;
  • The TAB Australian Cup will be run one week after The All-Star Mile in 2023, before extending to a two-week gap from 2024 with changes in the fall of dates. The fifth edition of the $5 million The All-Star Mile will be held at The Valley on Saturday, 18 March 2023; and
  • Flemington will host three Group 1 racedays in March 2023 with the Australian Guineas (1600m) and the Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m) to be held on the first and second Saturdays of March respectively.

2023 Autumn Features

The following notable changes have been made to feature race programs in Autumn 2023 in addition to those outlined above during the Festival of Racing:

  • As a result of the Australian Cup move, the 2023 Mornington Cup meeting will be run as a Standalone Saturday meeting on 22 April – the week after the lucrative Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday is held for the first time at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown); and
  • As part of its rotation throughout country Victoria, the Good Friday race meeting, headlined by the $500,000 The Country Discovery (1100m), will be held on the Bellarine Peninsula at Geelong on 7 April 2023. The inaugural Good Friday raceday was held at Sale in 2022 and helped raise $100,000 for the Good Friday Appeal.

Minimum Prizemoney Increases

Country Meetings

Over $7 million will be invested to increase minimum prizemoney levels at Victorian TAB country meetings from 1 August 2022 as follows:

  • Standard races will increase from $25,000 to $27,000;
  • Premium races will increase from $35,000 to $37,500; 
  • Premium races for BM70 and above will increase from $35,000 to $40,000; and
  • Night races will increase from $35,000 to $40,000.

Metropolitan Meetings

Over $4 million will be invested to increase minimum prizemoney levels at Victorian metropolitan meetings from 1 August 2022 as follows:

  • Saturday 2YO, 3YO, BM90, BM100 and Open Handicap races will increase from $130,000 to $150,000;
  • Saturday Pathway races (ninth race) will increase from $75,000 to $80,000; and
  • Midweek races will increase from $50,000 to $55,000.

RV has announced that a limited number of midweek metropolitan meetings during the same week as metropolitan night meetings will be reduced from eight to seven race cards to maximise field sizes. Metropolitan night meetings will retain a $60,000 minimum after increasing from $50,000 this season.

Group & Listed Races

With the increase in minimum prizemoney for the vast majority of Saturday metropolitan races, minimum prizemoney for all Listed Races will increase from $160,000 to $175,000 to ensure an appropriate differentiation. 

This follows an increase in minimum prizemoney for all Group races this season to $750,000 (Group 1), $300,000 (Group 2) and $200,000 (Group 3), whilst Listed races rose from $140,000.

Boost for VOBIS Sires Program

As previously announced, the 2022-23 season will see a major enhancement to Victoria’s popular VOBIS program with the addition of the $7.5 million VOBIS Sires Boost as follows:

  • $7.5 million will be offered exclusively to the winning owners of VOBIS Sires horses in the form of $30,000 in vouchers on top of $20,000 bonuses across 250 VOBIS Gold bonus races, of which 75 per cent will be run throughout country Victoria; and
  • The VOBIS Sires Boost vouchers may be utilised by the winning owners to purchase eligible progeny of a VOBIS Sire at a recognised sale, with an authorised syndicator or can be applied to a service fee for a VOBIS Sire during the eligible breeding seasons. For more information click here. 

2022-23 Race Dates Summary

In addition to the changes announced above, other points of note in the release of the 2022-23 race dates (which incorporate the period from 1 August 2022 to 31 July 2023) are as follows:

  • Victoria will host 554 race meetings across 354 days with 108 metropolitan, 395 country TAB, 18 country non-TAB and 33 picnic meetings programmed;
  • The course proper at Caulfield will not host race meetings from December 2022 until May 2023 due to development works. As a result, 10 traditional Caulfield race meetings have been allocated to Ladbrokes Park (Sandown). Due to these changes, six Ladbrokes Park midweek meetings have been transferred to country venues that are favoured by punters;
  • A total of 51 night meetings have been scheduled – three less than the 2021-22 season. This reduction is the result of Pakenham Racing Club not conducting Thursday night meetings prior to Christmas and gaining two Wednesday afternoon meetings due to the Caulfield closure;
  • There are 11 race-free days programmed, down from 16 in the original 2021-22 calendar. This reduction is due to the discontinuation of a race-free week in July following industry feedback and, with Christmas Eve on a Saturday, a race meeting scheduled at The Valley on that day;
  • To provide a broad section of participants with a race-free Sunday and showcase feature jumps racing, there will be two Sundays in July 2023 where no flat racing is programmed with feature jumps meetings at Warrnambool and Sportsbet-Pakenham on 2 and 16 July respectively;
  • Two Sunday metropolitan meetings have been programmed with Spring Classics Preview Day, featuring the Derby and Oaks Trials, to be held at Flemington on 18 September 2022, whilst The Valley host a community raceday on 5 March 2023. As a result of the Flemington move, the Gold Nugget meeting at Sportsbet-Ballarat will be run on Friday, 16 September 2022;
  • Five Fridays in winter (two in August 2022, two in June 2023 and one in July 2023) will feature afternoon double headers with a secondary meeting programmed to increase opportunities for lower rated horses during this period; and
  • Following extensive track renovations, Seymour is scheduled to resume racing on Friday, 11 November 2022 with the first of nine meetings for the season. Due to the November return, the Club will not be in a position to host their Cup meeting in 2022 which will instead be run on Sunday, 2 October at Bendigo.