The Victoria Racing Club has added the Andrew Ramsden to its list of ballot-exempt races for the Melbourne Cup.
To be run on May 25, the Andrew Ramsden has undergone some changes.
With an increase in prize money to $400,000, the race has been shortened from 3200m to 2800m, will be run at weight-for-age and restricted to three, four and five-year-olds.
Leigh Jordon, the VRC executive general manager of racing, said the board felt the timing of the race was ideal.
“The reduced distance and with the age restriction we’re looking for that up-and- coming young stayer and at weight-for-age producing a high quality winner,” Jordon told RSN927.
“At that time of year it used to be around the old Adelaide Cup time of year where people used to aim for the Adelaide Cup and then turn them out for a spell and aim for the Cups.”
The Andrew Ramsden joins The Bart Cummings, the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate and Lexus Stakes as ballot-exempt races for Australia’s greatest race.
Jordon said releasing the changes to the Andrew Ramsden now gives connections of spring horses the opportunity to think about the race, aim for it, and if they win know they are in the Melbourne Cup.
He said the board may also consider changes to other staying races including the Roy Higgins Quality in March and the staying race on the Sofitel Girls Day Out program in September.
“The board feel that we conduct the Melbourne Cup which is the iconic staying race in the world,” Jordon said.
“We want to make sure our program throughout the year encourages young stayers and we have the right prize money on those races and the right conditions.
“This is just a start.”