‘Congratulate them. Well done’: V’landys’ praise for Victorian racing

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‘Congratulate them. Well done’: V’landys’ praise for Victorian racing

By Damien Ractliffe

Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger says a $16 million boost to prizemoney is not a retaliation to Racing NSW, despite announcing a boost in Saturdays’ metropolitan minimums to match their cross-border rivals.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys praised his southern state counterparts for the prizemoney increases, which will also mean every group 1 race in Victoria will be worth at least $750,000 from next racing season, funded by an uplift in wagering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The William Reid, won last year by Masked Crusader, will be worth $1 million next season.

The William Reid, won last year by Masked Crusader, will be worth $1 million next season.Credit:Getty Images

A lift in the minimum prizemoney for Saturday metropolitan races - from $120,000 to $130,000 - matches announcements made by Racing NSW in February.

Asked for his reaction was to RV’s prizemoney boosts, V’landys said in a text message to The Age: ”Congratulate them. Well done.”

But Kruger said comparing RV’s $16 million investment with Racing NSW’s $20 million injections in February was not fair.

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“I think looking at year-on-year increases and saying NSW went up by $20 million, we only went up $16 million is not the right way to look at things,” Kruger told racing.com.

“Today’s announcement, the $16 million increase, we’ve actually increased prizemoney in this state by over $100 million or 60 per cent over the last five or six years. That to me is more important.

“In Victoria, with the announcement today, next season the average prizemoney for every race from picnics all the way to our big group 1s will be in excess of $65,000 and that’s well in advance of what any other state’s average prizemoney is.

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“We think that’s probably the more important metric for people to be looking at when they’re wondering how well Victoria is going in terms of what’s happening in other states.”

The biggest winners include Melbourne’s autumn carnival sprints: the William Reid Stakes has been boosted from $500,000 to $1 million, while the Newmarket Handicap ($1.5 million), Black Caviar Lightning Stakes ($1 million) and Oakleigh Plate ($750,000) are all worth $250,000 more than they were this season.

The William Reid - which competes with Sydney’s handicap sprint The Galaxy - worth $700,000 and run eight days later - is now a more lucrative target.

Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger.

Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

So, too, is the Toorak Handicap, also up from $500,000 to $1 million. Run on Caulfield Guineas day, it competes with Sydney’s Epsom Handicap run a week earlier. Racing NSW boosted prizemoney for the Epsom from $1 million to $1.5 million in February.

Group 2 races will be worth a minimum of $300,000, up from $200,000, while group 3 races and listed races have also had their minimum stakes money increased to $200,000 and $160,000 respectively.

The Australian Trainers’ Association had called for $9.5 million in increases, but Racing Victoria has far exceeded those calls. The Turnbull Stakes received a bolster as hoped by the trainers, to $750,000, however the Gilgai Stakes remains at $300,000 as a group 2 event.

Country races will also enjoy a significant boost. No TAB country race will be run for any less than $25,000 from August 1, while the Warrnambool May racing carnival and Swan Hill three-day carnival have also received boosts.

Prizemoney for races that was reduced last year due to COVID-19 has also reverted to pre-pandemic levels, including the Cantala Stakes and Darley Sprint Classic which are restored to $2 million races.

The CF Orr Stakes, Futurity Stakes and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes will also lift from $500,000 to $750,000 courtesy of the new minimum stakes requirements for group 1s.

No changes were announced to the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, Blue Diamond or the $5 million All-Star Mile, although the All-Star Mile remains under review.

“In formulating our prizemoney structure our priority was to ensure that all levels of Victorian racing, from picnic meetings right up to group 1 racedays, benefited from an uplift in wagering returns and I’m pleased that we have been able to achieve that,” Kruger said.

Along with the unexpected uplift in wagering during the pandemic, the Victorian Racing Industry is expecting to generate an additional $20 million in future revenue when the point of consumption tax is increased from 8 to 10 per cent next month.

Staying and three-year-old races have also been included in the boosts, with the Melbourne Cup-exempt Andrew Ramsden receiving a $100,000 bolster to $500,000. Jumps racing will receive an additional $730,000 in prizemoney next season, while picnic races and country non-tab and SKY 2 races have been increased by at least 25 per cent.

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