Consolation bonus for missing Cup

A $100,000 bonus will be offered to the winner of this year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington if the horse has been balloted from the Melbourne Cup.

Victoria Racing Club chief executive Dale Monteith announced the consolation bonus opportunity which is a sweetener for connections if their horse fails to make the 24-horse Cup field.

If the bonus is won, connections will take home a total of $250,000 for winning a Group Three quality handicap, which is run four days after the Melbourne Cup on Emirates Stakes Day.

The VRC also approved a distance change for the 2010 Queen Elizabeth Stakes from 2500 metres to 2600 metres to provide an extra staying test for all runners.

Monteith said it was arguably every owner’s dream to have a Melbourne Cup runner and that the VRC acknowledged the frustration and disappointment owners would feel missing out at the ballot stage.

“The VRC board has been highly innovative in providing a tangible consolation opportunity to disappointed Cup connections in the form of a realistically achievable $100,000 race bonus,” Monteith said.

He said the club’s offer would also act as an incentive for connections to continue to participate in the Melbourne Cup carnival program.

On average about 40 per cent of the horses balloted from the Melbourne Cup, from year to year, do not race in other events at the carnival.

“This statistic is likely to improve with the bonus opportunity now in place,” Monteith said.