$15 million boost to Victorian prize money

$15 million boost to Victorian prize moneyVictorian races will be worth more from next season after Racing Victoria (RV) announced a $15 million boost to prize money.

Minimum prize money for standard races on country tracks will be lifted from $12,000 to $14,000 while horses will compete for a share of $100,000 in no less than two events at metropolitan meetings every Saturday.

Racing Victoria chief Rob Hines announced the prize money boost at Racing Victoria’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday.

He said savings from a pending agreement between Country Racing Victoria and Racing Victoria to streamline administration costs would result in further increases for country racing prize money.

The actual figure from the savings is yet to be finalised.

“Full details of all the increases will be released early in 2012,” Hines said.

RV has guaranteed the $15 million increase but Hines flagged more increases should the outcome of a High Court challenge from corporate bookmakers Sportsbet and Betfair to race fields legislation fails.

“There is potential for more prize money increases. It could be as much as $30 million but the risk around this is a High Court challenge to race field legislation,” Hines said.

“If the High Court is positive for racing, and we really hope it is, there is the opportunity for a further stage of prize money increases.

“If that High Court challenge by Sportsbet and Betfair is successful the whole legislative base for charging corporate bookmakers will be gone.”

The prize money increases are welcome news for owners and comes only weeks after the announcement of a VOBIS Gold scheme which builds on the highly-successful Super VOBIS scheme.

Super VOBIS-qualified horses will be able to race for a total of $18 million in additional stakes money with VOBIS Gold bonuses spread across all ages, not just two-year-olds.

RVL showed a profit of $0.9 million from general operational activities for the financial year ended July 31 which, when consolidated with related entities, became a final profit of $1.4 million for the period.