Increased prizemoney across the board and the announcement of a new feature race specifically tailored for country cup entrants highlighted an announcement made by Racing NSW on Wednesday.
Chief Executive and Board Member, Peter V’landys, provided the exciting news that Port Macquarie TAB race meetings together with all other similar country programs conducted around the state will have minimum prizemoney levels increased to $25,000 per race.
Picnic minimum prizemoney will be increased to $5,000 per race and there are staged upgrades to all levels of provincial, metropolitan, listed and group races resulting in a further injection of around $25 million per annum to the industry.
In addition to the prizemoney increases, a major investment was announced for the Sydney Spring Carnival with the creation of a lucrative new $2 million race called ‘The Big Dance’ specifically designed for major country cup candidates to be conducted on Melbourne Cup Day each year at Randwick.
The set distance is 1600 metres around the hallowed metropolitan turf and eligibility for the race will be restricted to horses contesting one of twenty-five selected NSW Country Cups conducted throughout the year.
The race will provided a new feature for the Spring Racing Carnival together with further opportunities for participants outside the metropolitan and provincial areas to compete on the big stage for large prizemoney.
Port Macquarie Race Club president, Greg Delaforce, is delighted by the added financial support injected by the governing body to country racing as it provides great confidence to all participants in the local area and maintains the state’s position as number one racing jurisdiction in Australia.
Further announcements were made regarding the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival with details of a new $2 million event called ‘The Five Diamonds’ together with increased funding for numerous feature events headed by the Spring Champion Stakes.
In another master stroke by Racing NSW, The Stan Fox Stakes will be renamed as the Callander-Presnell in honour of two doyens of the racing media in the shape of Ken Callander and Max Presnell.
Both are wonderful journalists and media presenters who covered the sport in the halcyon days when print and media were vastly more competitive and provided a great insight into the stories behind the news together with the action from the tracks.
It is also outstanding news that a new $500,000 race over 1400 metres for 3-year-old horses will be run at Royal Randwick called the Tapp-Craig in honour of legendary Sydney race callers, John Tapp and Ian Craig.
The pair were not only the finest broadcasters the country has produced but were also absolute gentlemen who always supported country racing as they reached the top of their profession.
Infrastructure is most important to the operation of racing and funding was also announced for a $6 million upgrade to the Warwick Farm course proper in partnership with the Australian Turf Club.
Sequential upgrades of other metropolitan tracks were announced and this could lead to further improvements to facilities and amenities in other areas around the state.