Victoria Racing Club has called on Racing Victoria to consider turning Finals Day at Flemington – the July culmination of the Melbourne winter carnival – into a $2 million race day.
Currently about $1.4 million will be run on July 3, across nine races including three $160,000 main events – the Winter Championship (1600m), Taj Rossi (1600m) and Mahogany Challenge (2500m).
But VRC executive general manager racing Leigh Jordon said better prizemoney – each race worth a “minimum” $200,000 – would boost the profile of an already competitive winter series.
“It’d be great to have all the races on that day worth a minimum of $200,000 and over so that it is a real focal point of our winter racing,” Jordon said.
“Increasing the prizemoney across the day, so that the heats lead into finals that are worth a lot more, it gives horses through that period a real focus.
“Also for the punting public, too, these races are pretty good punting races as well … so a Finals Day worth even better prizemoney would be a real highlight for everyone.”
Each race on Finals Day is worth a minimum $150,000 but a boost would incentivise trainers to target the entire series, as opposed to individual heats worth a healthy $125,000 and $135,000.
RV is expected shortly to announce its prizemoney plans for the upcoming season.
“If they’re thinking about boosting prizemoney it’s a day I think they should in winter,” Jordon said.
“The ultimate would be every (race on Finals Day) be $200,000 to really give more relevance to the heats leading into the Finals … would boost the whole concept.”
While Adelaide and Brisbane Group 1 carnivals command the late-autumn and winter space, Melbourne racing gives locals a platform to interstate features as well as an opportunity to gauge spring ambitions.
Anthony and Sam Freedman unleashed victorious and regally-bred Frankel filly Argentia last Saturday, at Flemington while a Peter Moody-trained daughter of Black Caviar finished third in the same race.
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained a treble, including progressive stayer Grand Promenade and impressive three-year-old Namakwa, who punched his ticket into the Mahogany Challenge Final.
Several smaller and boutique stables have also made hay in the winter months.
“It gives encouragement for some of the trainers to run (quality) horses in the off-season, if the prizemoney is good enough,” Jordon said.
“If we had nine races worth $200,000 each and maybe boost up one, wouldn’t it be great if the whole day could be worth $2 million.”
Originally published asVRC launches $2m Finals Day boost
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