Racing NSW chairman Russell Balding has announced prizemoney increases for feature country meetings.
Eight major country Cups across NSW will be worth $200,000 under further prize money increases announced for the upcoming season.
Racing NSW on Tuesday revealed significant boosts to country racing with prize money to increase to $81 million annually.
The Cups worth $200,000 are: Port Macquarie, Goulburn, Albury, Wellington, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Scone and Grafton..
Feature country sprints, the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton, the Wagga Wagga Town Plate and the Dark Jewel at Scone will also be increased to $200,000.
The Coffs Harbour and Muswellbrook Cups will increase to $150,000 with the Taree Cup, Dubbo Cup and Snake Gully Cup at Gundagai to be increased to $100.000.
Feature meetings at Lismore, Coonamble, Coonabarabran, Mudgee, Moruya, Bega and Orange have all received significant increases for their Cups and support races.
At each of these feature country meetings there will now also be a $50,000 ‘Country Magic’ race which is restricted to country-trained horses only.
The ‘Country Magic’ races will ensure country participants have an extra opportunity to compete at these feature meetings.
The latest announcements follow recent increases to minimum prize money levels to $22,000 per race and 40 Country Showcase meetings per year with each race being at least $30,000 and the introduction of races restricted to country-trained horses only such as:
– $1.3 million The Kosciuszko
– $500,000 Country Championships Final
– 7 x $150,000 Country Championships qualifiers throughout NSW
– $75,000 weekly Highway races at metropolitan meetings
– $40,000 maidens for country-trained horses only
Racing NSW will also provide marketing and promotional support to the country race clubs.
Racing NSW Chairman, Russell Balding said the governing body was committed to raising the profile of country racing.
“A key strategic priority of Racing NSW is for country racing to continue to stage great carnivals and Cup race meetings and to ensure that thoroughbred racing is widely celebrated and enjoyed throughout all of NSW, not just Sydney and the Provincials,” Balding said.
“Thoroughbred racing, dressing up, heading to the races and having a bet is part of what we do.
“The prize money increases for these meetings, along with the marketing and promotion of the carnivals themselves, particularly to the younger demographic, will lift NSW country racing to a whole new level.”