Less than two weeks after the third running of the Golden Eagle, Racing New South Wales has announced that the race will have an $8 million prize purse in 2022 – an increase of $500,000.
Introduced in 2019 by Racing NSW, the 1500m feature is exclusive to four-year-olds and run on Derby Day at Rosehill Gardens, and now it is has surpassed the Melbourne Cup to become Australia’s second-richest race behind The Everest, which boasts a $15 million pool.
“The Golden Eagle has been a stunning success both on the track and through wagering, with this increase reflecting what an instant hit the race has been,” said Racing NSW Chairman Mr Russell Balding AO.
“The race has clearly resonated with the racing public and has cemented its place in our expanded Sydney Spring Carnival.”
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— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) October 30, 2021
Kolding took out the inaugural Golden Eagle when backing up his 2019 Epsom Handicap win with a stunning victory a month later, James Cummings tasted success in 2020 with Colette, and Victorian raider I’m Thunderstruck gave Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr a win in the race this year.
A unique feature of the Golden Eagle is that 10% of each horse’s prizemoney goes to a charity of the owners’ choice.
Camp Quality received a $410,000 donation thanks to I’m Thunderstruck’s success, with that money going towards helping and supporting children who are going through their own cancer diagnosis or the diagnosis of a close friend or relative.
There are a couple of ways to look at this increase of prizemoney, and we have come to the conclusion that the field would be just as strong in 2022 with a 50% prizemoney cut, so we don’t really see the need for a $500,000 boost.
Australian racing has plenty of two-year-old races, hundreds of three-year-old races, as well as fillies and mares’ races, but once horses turn four, they have to race the older horses, so a four-year-old exclusive race is always going to be strong, especially during the Spring Carnival.
This year’s Spring Carnival in Melbourne took a fair bit of shine off the Sydney equivalent, while the 2021 Melbourne Cup itself will go down in the history books as one of the greatest races run on Australian soil, so we would prefer to see it sit at the top of the list for Australia’s richest race – not third.
The one big positive out of today’s announcement is that charities will receive more money in 2022. Allowing the owners to have their horse race for a chosen charity is a nice innovation, and the extra $500,000 will go a long way to supporting people in need.