Victoria will have an additional two feature Sunday meetings in the next jumps season.
The success of the Grand National Steeplechase meeting at Ballarat in August is the catalyst for Warrnambool and Bendigo to each hold a program of five jumps races and two flat races exclusively for jumps riders next July.
Racing Victoria has issued its 2018 jumps program of 64 races, 43 hurdle and 21 steeplechases, which begins on March 15 and runs until late September with a total of $3.745 million prize money on offer.
The Grand National Steeplechase meeting at Ballarat on August 26 has six jumps races scheduled.
Warrnambool will hold its meeting on July 8 which will include the Kevin Lafferty Hurdle with the Mosstrooper Steeplechase the feature of the Bendigo meeting on July 22.
An extra $150,000 has been allocated for May’s three-day Warrnambool carnival with a $50,000 increase for the Grand Annual Steeplechase putting it on par with the $350,000 for the Grand National Steeplechase.
The Brierley Steeplechase and the Galleywood Hurdle each receive an extra $25,000 taking their prize money to $150,000 while there will be a $50,000 Champion Novice Steeplechase added to the second day.
Australian Jumping Racing Association chairman, Sandy McGregor, welcomed the enhancements.
“The AJRA is very pleased with Racing Victoria’s commitment to the sport and warmly welcomes prize money increases and more dedicated jumps programs,” McGregor said.
“This program is the best we have had in many years and we thank Racing Victoria for its efforts.”
The famed Great Eastern Steeplechase run at Oakbank has had a date shift from its traditional Easter Monday slot to Easter Saturday because of dwindling crowds.