Sydney Saturday races will be worth a minimum $100,000 a race as part of a raft of prize money increases in NSW.
Australian Turf Club chief executive Darren Pearce said Group Two races would be worth a minimum of $200,000, Group Three races $150,000 and Listed races will jump to $125,000 with the increases to take place from October 1.
“Today marks a turning point for New South Wales racing after 10 years of toil and transformation,” Pearce said.
Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller said after a decade of tough times for NSW racing, it was now the best jurisdiction in the world.
“People don’t realise that $100,000 prize money, you get $2000 back to 10th place,” Waller said.
“There’s just as many horses that run 10th as there are win races.”
In a joint announcement on Tuesday, Racing NSW also announced increases for provincial and country meetings.
Country and Provincial Championships qualifying heats will be worth $150,000, while regular provincial races will rise to $30,000.
There is to be a $40,000 fortnightly provincial maiden race and 30 country restricted maiden races with the same purse.
Newcastle-based Group One trainer Kris Lees said the majority of horses in his stable were on the provincial and country circuit.
“To think that we’re racing for that type of prize money in provincial and country areas is wonderful news,” Lees said.
Lees said it would give his diverse ownership base a chance to cover training fees by winning country races.
“It’s a really great influx for provincial and country racing,” Lees said.
A feature race worth $150,000 will be added to selected metropolitan meetings including Randwick’s Melbourne Cup day meeting, and night racing programs will have an $80,000 feature race added to them.
Racing NSW chairman John Messara said the money would come from the sale of digital media rights, Race Fields legislation fees and tax parity.
Pearce flagged infrastructure improvements including racetrack upgrades and rebuilds as well as a synthetic track for Sydney, likely to be at Warwick Farm.
He also foreshadowed the expansion of night racing, currently held at Canterbury, to Randwick and in the longer-term Rosehill.