Sydney’s spring racing riches to remain
Sydney's showpiece spring racing carnival will go ahead as scheduled with no cuts to feature race prizemoney including the $15 million The TAB Everest.
And minimum race prizemoney will return to pre-COVID-19 levels from July 1 as Racing NSW chairman Russell Balding said it was important the racing industry is "able to move forward with confidence"
After a lengthy board meeting, Balding made the significant announcements on Monday to provide racing industry participants with some certainty for the new racing season.
Many of the nation's elite racehorses are returning to training in the next week or two with trainers and owners needing certainty around spring carnival race dates.
There remains speculation in Victoria that the Melbourne spring carnival could be altered with the possibility of moving the Caulfield Cup until later in November to avoid a clash with the AFL Finals Series.
But Racing NSW has made a pro-active decision to confirm spring carnival race dates and restore prizemoney levels from July 1.
"The confirmation of racing dates enables industry participants to move forward with certainty. Trainers and owners can now properly plan the racing preparations for their horses,'' Balding said.
"Restoration of prizemoney levels to their pre-COVID-19 levels, to be distributed to the industry participants who continued to put on racing during COVID-19, enables those participants to plan their future with confidence.
"Collectively, the industry has done a great job at ensuring that racing has continued during these uncertain times. Industry participants across all sectors complied with the very strict and successful bio-security measures adopted by Racing NSW, which were critical to enabling racing to continue during COVID-19.
"This in turn meant that wagering turnover, which is the main source of funding for prizemoney, was not as adversely impacted as initially feared, such that Racing NSW is in the financial position to be able to restore prizemoney levels much sooner than expected.''
Hall of Fame trainer Chris Waller said the racing industry has "put on a good show" and operated safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
"I've never been so proud to work in the racing industry as I have been in the last two months or so,'' Waller said.
"We have followed the guidelines which has allowed the industry to continue and keep people in jobs.
"When the prizemoney for The Championships was reduced by 50 per cent and for other races by 20 per cent, no one in the industry complained.
"Everyone in racing has had to take significant pay cuts, just like most Australians, but this is great news that Racing NSW has made these announcements and is getting our sport back to normal.''
Balding said The TAB Everest would be run as scheduled at Royal Randwick on October 17 and the $7.5 million Golden Eagle is set for Rosehill Gardens on October 31.
The second running of The Hunter (Newcastle, November 14) and The Gong (Kembla Grange, November 21), both with prizemoney of $1 million, will bring close Sydney's spring carnival.
REINSTATEMENT OF PRIZEMONEY LEVELS
From 1 July 2020, the following prizemoney levels will apply:
Metropolitan Saturdays - Restored from $100,000 to $125,000
Metropolitan Midweek - Restored from $45,000 to $50,000
Highway Races - Restored from $67,500 to $75,000
Provincial Races - Restored from $31,500 to $35,000
Country Showcase Races - Restored from $27,000 to $30,000
Country TAB Races - Restored from $20,000 to $22,000
Originally published as Yes Yes Yes! Sydney's spring racing riches to remain