Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys says Racing Victoria’s prizemoney boosts, which appear to be in retaliation to his new $2 million fillies and mares race on Cox Plate day, are great for the sport and its participants.
V’landys said it’s “amazing what competition creates” after Racing Victoria revealed a $1 million Empire Rose bonus would be attached to 12 lead-up races, including the Coolmore Classic (Krone), NZ Breeders Stakes (Avantage) and the Tatts Tiara (Tofane), which have already been run and won this year.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer
Racing Victoria’s surprise announcement on Monday – worth $3 million in prizemoney boosts – follows Racing NSW’s announcement last month that it had launched a new race worth $2 million called The Invitation, to be run on Cox Plate day over 1400 metres for fillies and mares.
Racing Victoria has also elevated five group 1 races in the spring to $1 million races.
The Memsie Stakes, Makybe Diva Stakes, Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, Underwood Stakes and Turnbull Stakes are now all worth seven figures, matching Racing NSW’s increases for the George Main Stakes and Hill Stakes, which were doubled from $500,000 to $1 million last month.
Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson this week described Racing NSW’s encroachment on the Melbourne Spring Carnival as “destructive” in a Racing.com interview.
“I’m all for extra money, I’m all for extra ideas but to simply split fields and split participants groups is, in my view, not a helpful way of growing our sport,” he said.
But V’landys disagreed when The Age contacted him on Monday for his views on Racing Victoria’s announcement.
“Amazing what competition creates,” V’landys said. “The winners are the participants.”
Asked if he thought these announcements were in retaliation to his, V’landys responded: “Absolutely”.
Verry Elleegant won last year’s Turnbull Stakes.Credit:Getty Images
“Competition makes everyone perform better,” he said.
Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger said he made no apologies for “unashamedly” seeking to ensure “that the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival remains a destination event”.
By announcing a $1 million bonus Empire Rose for the winner of 12 lead-up races, Racing Victoria is dangling a carrot at the best fillies and mares in the country to instead target their 1600-metre event at Flemington on Derby day – a week after The Invitation.
The other nine races include the group 1 Thousand Guineas, and group 2 events such as the Let’s Elope, the Stocks Stakes, the Rose Of Kingston, the Manifold and the Tristarc.
“Not only does the group 1 TAB Empire Rose offer the placegetters coveted black type for their future breeding careers, but it now also offers a winner’s cheque of $1.6 million for any horse that has claimed one of 12 designated races on their way to Flemington,” Kruger said in a statement.
“Our goal is to excite racing fans and punters by compiling the best fields possible and to reward those owners and trainers, who support the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival and our iconic group 1 races.”
Two Melbourne Cup lead-ups – the Bart Cummings (from $500,000 to $750,000) and the Moonee Valley Gold Cup (from $500,000 to $1 million) – have also been bolstered.
“The elevation of the Moonee Valley Gold Cup to a $1 million race further cements its place as a must win contest en route to the Lexus Melbourne Cup, whilst delivering another headline event and million-dollar race to the Ladbrokes Cox Plate Day program – one of the most cherished race days on the national sporting calendar,” the statement read.
“A start in the Melbourne Cup remains the dream for owners across the globe and The Lexus Bart Cummings is one of just five races that guarantees that. Its increased prizemoney ensures those who choose the pursuit of its golden ticket over other races on the calendar are appropriately rewarded for their victory.”
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