Every level of horse racing in Victoria will have prize money to match the rest of Australia with more than $40 million on the table if Labor wins the state election.
Racing Minister Martin Pakula announced on Wednesday night Labor would tip in an extra $33 million into winnings for thoroughbred racing in Victoria over two years, if re-elected.
Then, the state’s peak racing body said it would chip in millions to push the extra prize pool total to more than $40 million to make minimum levels of thoroughbred prize money.
The package, to be rolled out from January 1 in 2019, would make minimum winnings in every category in the state equivalent to the rest of Australia, Racing Victoria says.
“A vibrant and successful thoroughbred racing industry is great for Victoria. Enhancing returns to our owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders, particularly at the grassroots, is crucial,” RV chairman Brian Kruger said of the election pledge.
The cash boost is aimed at attracting more international and interstate investment while keeping horses, trainers and jobs in Victoria, Mr Pakula said.
“This increase in prize money will help support Victorians working in thoroughbred racing in suburbs, regional cities and country towns right across the state,” he said.
RV states the combined $40 million-plus package would mean:
* A minimum $35,000 prize pool per race at more than 170 country race meetings
* A minimum $50,000 prize money per race at midweek metropolitan meetings
* A $135,000 minimum per race for Saturday metropolitan races for three-year-olds and races over 2000m or above
* A minimum of $125,000 per race for other Saturday metropolitan races – excluding pathway races
The top-up comes after RV in June beefed up this year’s prize money for the Melbourne Cup to $7.3 million, now the world’s richest handicap race.
It also raised both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate from $3 million to $5 million races, and extra prize money to 67 country cups and other races.
The racing industry contributes $3.2 billion to Victoria’s economy annually, the state government says.