Racing Victoria has announced that over AU$16m (US$12m) will be available in prize money for the next racing season, funded by an uplift in wagering throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Every group 1 event in the state will be worth at least AU$750,000, group 2 races will be worth at least AU$300,000, while group 3 races and listed races have been increased to AU$200,000 and AU$160,000 respectively. Saturday metropolitan races meanwhile will be worth at least AU$130,000.
Major increases involve Melbourne’s spring carnival sprints, with the Newmarket Handicap now worth AU$1.5m, and the William Reid Stakes and Black Caviar Lightning Stakes both boosted to AU$1m.
Writing to Racing Victoria in March 2021, the Australian Trainers’ Association called for AU$9.5m increases in prize money due to unexpected wagering growth, but Racing Victoria has almost doubled that target.
“In formulating our prize money structure our priority was to ensure that all levels of Victorian racing, from picnic meetings right up to group 1 race days, benefitted from an uplift in wagering returns and I’m pleased that we have been able to achieve that,” said Racing Victoria Chairman Brian Kruger.
“Victoria will offer more than $280 million in prize money and bonuses next season, a record amount and an increase of over $100 million or 60% since 2015. This amazing growth has fuelled participation in Victorian racing and has underpinned jobs right across the state.
“We’re proud to offer a nation-high average of prize money and bonuses on offer per race of $65,000, which ensures those who support Victorian racing are well rewarded and importantly there is incentive for continued investment and growth in our industry.”