Racing Victoria (RV) on Tuesday announced that minimum prizemoney in Victoria will be returned to pre-COVID levels from the start of the new racing season on 1 August 2020.
In the face of an unprecedented health and economic crisis, prizemoney in Victorian racing was reduced on 6 April 2020 to safeguard the industry in a time of great uncertainty.
Prizemoney was cut by 20% for metropolitan races and 10% for country races, with temporary reductions made to Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold bonuses also.
Having considered the industry’s financial health, its performance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of prizemoney to jobs and investment in Victorian racing, the RV Board has determined to return prizemoney to the following minimum levels and restore all VOBIS bonuses:
• Saturday metropolitan 3YO and staying (2000m+) races - $135,000
• Saturday metropolitan races - $125,000
• Midweek metropolitan races - $50,000
• Premium country races - $35,000
• Maiden country races - $23,000
• Standard country races - $22,000
RV, in association with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), Melbourne Racing Club (MRC), Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) and Country Racing Victoria (CRV), has also announced today that $97.5 million in prizemoney and bonuses will be on offer for the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival.
Following an extensive review, it has been determined that prizemoney for the Spring Racing Carnival’s flagship races will remain unchanged from 2019 and offer the following:
• Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m, Flemington) - $8 million
• Caulfield Cup (2400m, Caulfield) - $5 million
• Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m, The Valley) - $5 million
• AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m, Flemington) - $2 million
• Neds Caulfield Guineas (1600m, Caulfield) - $2 million
• Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (2000m, Flemington) - $2 million
• Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m, Flemington) - $1.5 million
• Kennedy Oaks (2500m, Flemington) - $1 million
• Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m, Caulfield) - $1 million
• Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m, The Valley) - $1 million
• Moir Stakes (1000m, The Valley) - $1 million
The Melbourne Cup, picture VRC
In light of the impacts to date of the COVID-19 pandemic, RV, CRV and the Clubs have made a collective and prudent decision to reduce prizemoney for 12 of the 114 Group and Listed races over the Spring Racing Carnival. These reductions will total $2.25 million.
With uncertainty around the return of crowds and future wagering returns, the restoration of 2020 prizemoney will be underwritten by a contribution from the Industry Sustainability Fund.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact across the Victorian racing industry even though we have been able to safely continue racing thanks to the incredible work of so many," said RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson.
“Everyone has made sacrifices and everyone has played their role to keep the industry viable in the short term through prizemoney reductions, significant staff stand downs, stretching resources and making cost savings.
“It is this prudent approach in such uncertain times, together with better than expected returns from wagering, that means we will be in a position to restore minimum prizemoney levels from 1 August 2020.
“As the only live sport for three months, wagering turnover on Victorian racing has increased during the pandemic and this has largely helped to offset a significant reduction in returns from the VicTAB Joint Venture. Despite the improved wagering outcomes, we will still be calling on the Industry Sustainability Fund to underwrite the return of prizemoney to pre-COVID levels.
“There are 110,000 people employed or participating in Victorian racing, many of them in regional communities. Whilst the pandemic is not over and its impact will continue to be felt for some time, we recognise that prizemoney is the lifeblood of our industry and it is fundamental to ongoing investment and jobs in Victorian racing that we maximise it in a responsible manner.
“We’ve been delighted with the cooperation of all stakeholders and their willingness to embrace the necessary biosecurity protocols and cost saving measures. The loyalty and commitment of our racehorse owners has been exceptional, and we are pleased to now be able to repay that.
“In terms of the Spring Racing Carnival, we have reviewed our prizemoney contributions and the historical top-ups from Clubs on their feature races to determine what is appropriate in an environment where such great uncertainty remains here in Victoria.
“The restrictions on social gatherings has had a significant impact on each Club’s raceday operations and their associated businesses which has affected their bottom line. The uncertainty around crowds means there are no guarantees at present for Clubs around their Spring revenues.
“The decision has been made to retain current prizemoney for more than 100 Group and Listed races programmed throughout the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival including our marquee races in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
“Investment in the Spring Racing Carnival and its flagship races ensures that the quality of our premier racing event is maintained to maximise engagement by fans and punters, whilst rewarding those owners and trainers who campaign their horses in Victoria.”
Note - Victoria conducts over 4,400 races annually with minimum prizemoney restored for all.
Of the 114 Group and Listed races conducted during the Spring Racing Carnival, prizemoney has been adjusted for the following 12 races in 2020:
• Kennedy Cantala (G1, 1600m, Flemington) - $1.5 million (down from $2 million)
• Darley Sprint Classic (G1, 1200m, Flemington) - $1.5 million (down from $2 million)
• Memsie Stakes (G1, 1400m, Caulfield) - $750,000 (down from $1 million)
• Herbert Power Stakes (G2, 2400m, Caulfield) - $300,000 (down from $400,000)
• Schillaci Stakes (G2, 1100m, Caulfield) - $300,000 (down from $400,000)
• Zipping Classic (G2, 2400m, Ladbrokes Park) - $250,000 (down from $300,000)
• Blue Sapphire Classic (G3, 1200m, Caulfield) - $400,000 (down from $500,000)
• Caulfield Classic (G3, 2000m, Caulfield) - $250,000 (down from $350,000)
• Network 10 Carbine Club Stakes (G3, 1600m, Flemington) - $250,000 (down from $500,000)
• Lexus Hotham Handicap* (G3, 2500m, Flemington) - $200,000 (down from $300,000)
• Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G3, 2600m, Flemington) - $200,000 (down from $300,000)
• Network 10 Red Roses Stakes (G3, 1100m, Flemington) - $200,000 (down from $300,000)
(* retains ballot exemption into the Lexus Melbourne Cup for the winner)