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Melbourne Cup Carnival prize pool reaches a record $27.6 million

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) on Thursday announced a boost of $7.52 million dollars in prizemoney and bonuses for the 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival and Turnbull Stakes Day.

This prize pool boost is made up of funds from the VRC, Racing Victoria and the Victorian Government.

The VRC’s annual contribution to prizemoney and bonuses, in addition to industry allocations, now stands at $10.5 million. 

In June the uplift in prizemoney for the Lexus Melbourne Cup was announced. It will increase to $8 million.

The broader injection of funds into the entire Melbourne Cup Carnival sees 16 races across all four days of Cup Week receiving additional prizemoney. 

The most significant increases are for the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) which doubles from $1 million to $2 million, enhancing its status as one of the world’s best sprint races, and for the time-honoured Group 1 Kennedy Cantala (1600m) which also doubles from $1 million to $2 million.

The prizemoney has increased for the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) from $1 million to $1.5 million, Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) from $200,000 to $500,000, Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) from $500,000 to $1 million and the Group 3 Red Roses Stakes (1100m) from $200,000 to $300,000. The successful Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final (1600m) has been increased from $200,000 to $500,000.

A $1 million bonus is on offer for the winner of the Carbine Club Stakes. Any horse who competes in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes, Group 3 Thousand Guineas Prelude or Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude, followed by the Group 1 Thousand Guineas or the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, and then wins the Carbine Club Stakes, will be awarded the bonus. 

A $500,000 bonus has been added to the Coolmore Stud Stakes for any horse who wins or places in the Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes and then wins the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington. 

A $500,000 bonus has been added to the Kennedy Cantala for any horse who places in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap or Group 2 Crystal Mile and then wins the Kennedy Cantala at Flemington.

The bonus of the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) on Seppelt Wines Stakes Day has been doubled to $200,000.

In total, 16 races during Cup Week and eight on Turnbull Stakes Day have received prizemoney injections. The Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m), which is a Lexus Melbourne Cup ballot exempt race, increases by $200,000 to $500,000.

2019 Group 1 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter with Kerrin McEvoy and Charlie Appleby, picture Quentinjlang.com

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said the prizemoney increases reaffirm the VRC’s commitment to the Melbourne Cup Carnival. 

“Melbourne Cup Week is Australia’s premier social and sporting event. It is globally recognised and attracts the world’s best horses, trainers and jockeys,” Mrs Elliott said.

“The significant prizemoney increases, which now sees the total prize pool reach $27.6 million, underline the status of this world-class event.

“AAMI Victoria Derby Day is Australia’s greatest day of racing with nine Group races including four Group 1s now worth $1 million or more,” Mrs Elliott said. 

“Australia’s brightest young stayers will compete for over $2 million in the AAMI Victoria Derby, while for the sprinters there is the stallion-making $1.5 million Coolmore Stud Stakes and now for the milers there is the $500,000 Carbine Club Stakes with a $1 million bonus attached.

“The Kennedy Cantala is a highlight of Cup Week and a $2 million prize pool justifies the quality of the race.

“The Empire Rose Stakes is now worth $1 million for the country’s best fillies and mares over a mile, and of course the day also features the last chance to get into the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup with the running of the Lexus Stakes.”  

Mrs Elliott also called out the increased awareness and focus of the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. 

“The VRC Sprint Classic is an outstanding race, with winners from the past decade including champion sprinters such as Black Caviar, Redzel and Santa Ana Lane, and we are delighted to support the race with an additional $1 million. 

“We saw five internationally-trained runners in last year’s edition of the race and now with the prizemoney doubling to $2 million the profile of this race globally will be further enhanced.”

Mrs Elliott went on to add: “I am really excited about these prizemoney announcements today. Cup Week is the jewel in the crown of Australian racing and this is the first part of an ambitious long-term strategic vision that the Board and broader team at the VRC are bringing to life.”

The 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival saw 451 horses, including 20 internationally-trained horses, compete in 37 races resulting in 23 individual trainers and 21 jockeys enjoying victory.

Throughout the year the VRC’s significant investments are distributed across a number of strategic priorities including equine welfare, prizemoney, customer events and experiences, digital engagement and infrastructure aimed at ensuring Cup Week remains one of the world’s best sporting, entertainment and tourism events.

Each year the VRC invests more than $55 million to host Cup Week alone with last year’s event generating a record $447.6 million in gross economic benefit to Victoria, which is unrivalled by any other Australian sporting event. More than 300,000 attend the Melbourne Cup Carnival, with over 46,000 from New South Wales alone.

As part of today’s boarder industry announcement, VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson made these comments: “The VRC is proud to make a significant direct investment of $3.2 million in prizemoney, in addition to contributions from Racing Victoria and the Victorian Government, for the world-renowned 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“The VRC is thankful for the support of Racing Victoria and the Victorian Government for their contributions and their commitment to maintaining Victoria’s world-class position in racing,” Mr Wilson said.

The 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival begins with AAMI Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 2 November, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 5 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 7 November and Seppelt Wines Stakes Day on Saturday 9 November. 

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