ATC Boosts Spring Prizemoney; Reduces Training Fees

By Racing and Sports

After several years of repairing its balance sheet and improving its business model, the Australian Turf Club will deliver a significant dividend to the racing industry this Spring and beyond, with prizemoney increases and a large cut to training fees announced today.

The Group 1 The Star Epsom in October will double in prizemoney to $1 million, and several major races through the Sydney Spring Carnival, as well as early Summer features, will receive increases fully funded by the Australian Turf Club.

A total prizemoney boost of $2.085 million will be fed through major races this Spring as the Australian Turf Club increases returns to owners, trainers, jockeys and the wider industry.

The ATC has also cut training fees at its racecourses by 10 per cent from 1 August 2015, as well as investing further in facility maintenance, as its board and executive continue to retire debt and use improved revenue from TV rights and commercial operations to benefit the industry.

Under changes to ballot conditions, several races during the Sydney Spring will give connections the chance to earn automatic entry into the three richest races during The Championships – the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes, $3.5 million The Star Doncaster Mile, and the $2.5 million Darley TJ Smith Stakes.

Feature two year old races in Spring – as connections begin to plan for the iconic Longines Golden Slipper – have also received prizemoney lifts, including the Breeders’ Plate and Gimcrack Stakes, both up $50,000, and the Pierro Plate and Golden Gift, both up $80,000 to $150,000.

In addition, there are prizemoney increases in several other races in Summer, totalling $175,000, which brings the total prizemoney increase for Spring and Summer to $2.26m.

Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Officer Darren Pearce said the Club’s continued improvement in financial performance had allowed it to put more into prizemoney as part of a wider return to Sydney racing.

“Prizemoney is just one area where we have been able to return more of our surplus to the industry, and we are delighted to further bolster our Spring program,’’ Mr Pearce said.

“In partnership with Racing NSW, and with revenue from areas such as TV rights, we can now continue to invest further.

“The reduction in track fees represents the beginning of a commitment to use surpluses to reduce costs for owners and we are committed to doing more in the future as we focus on continual improvement.

“Importantly, the reduction in track fees spreads through to all owners and trainers in Sydney.’’

NSW Trainers Association CEO Steve McMahon welcomed the reduction in track fees: “We’re delighted the ATC has reduced track fees by 10 per cent.

“Reducing the costs of racing is paramount so it’s great to see costs come down. It’s a step in the right direction.’’

Mr Pearce said the prizemoney increases were carefully targeted and spread to benefit races of all distances and age groups through the Sydney Spring.

The Star Epsom Handicap is again Australia’s premier Spring mile race and we hope it can attract The Star Doncaster winners and runners, and those heading to races such as the Cox Plate as in previous years with champions such as Super Impose, Filante and Racing To Win,’’ Mr Pearce said.

“This increase also reinforces Royal Randwick’s position as Australia’s greatest mile venue, in the Spring, and in the Autumn during The Championships with The Star Doncaster Mile.

The ATC’s richest Spring day of racing would also serve as the ideal opportunity for connections to qualify for The Championships at Randwick each April, with exemption from ballot to the following races:

• Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes – McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan and The Star Epsom winners qualify;

• The Star Doncaster Mile – Coolmore Flight Stakes winner qualifies;

• Darley TJ Smith Stakes – Premier Stakes and Roman Consul winners qualify.

“In consultation with Racing NSW we have identified races that will afford connections an opportunity to cement their place for the three richest races over the Championships,” Mr Pearce said.

“In arriving at the races offering ballot exemption, it was taken into account that historically the winners of the Epsom and Metropolitan would qualify for the Doncaster and Sydney Cup respectively.”

The full list of prizemoney increases for Spring Group 1 and Group 2 races are:

                                               2015 Sydney Spring Prizemoney Increase      

The Star Epsom – Group 1 $1,000,000 $500,000
McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan – Group 1 $750,000 $350,000
Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes – Group 1 $500,000 $100,000
Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main) – Group 1 $500,000 $150,000
Coolmore Flight Stakes – Group 1 $500,000 $100,000
The Golden Pendant – Group 2 $400,000 $100,000
Premiere Stakes – Group 2 $300,000 $100,000
Roman Consul Stakes – Group 2 $300,000 $125,000
Pro-Ride Warwick Stakes – Group 2 $250,000 $75,000
Tattersals Chelmsford Stakes – Group 2 $250,000 $75,000
MTA Run To The Rose – Group 2 $175,000 $50,000