Sweet or Not Sweet: RacingNSW splash cash in Spring takeover

RacingNSW today announced plans to extend the Everest carnival to be held over six weeks with prize money increases and the introduction of several new races.

Early last week it was announced that star WA mare Arcadia Queen would be targeted at the Golden Eagle to be held at Rosehill on November 2 in direct competition with Derby Day in Victoria. And with $2.5 million more on offer compared with the Cox Plate the week prior, owner Bob Peters confirmed this morning that the decision to run in the Golden Eagle over the Cox Plate was simply a financial one, with Regu-mate playing no part.

The Winter Stakes will be the support card on the day over 1300m at set weights and penalties over the distance of 1300m, along with the $500,000 Rosehill Cup over 2000m.

Lead up races to the Golden Eagle include the Silver Eagle 3 weeks prior to the Golden Eagle worth $500,000 and Newcastle and Kembla Grange have both been granted standalone racedays during the carnival with $1 million headline races on both cards.

The Newcastle Hunter will be a $1 million handicap race over 1300m while The Gong will be a handicap race run over 1600m.

If you think back to 5 years ago, Victoria had full control over the Spring post-AFL/NRL season calendar. With the introduction of these additional races, RacingNSW is making a long-term play for relevance in the Spring landscape, and they are succeeding. The Gong and The Newcastle Hunter are already worth more than any race run in South Australia with Group 1 status, and the likes of the Oakleigh Plate worth $500,000, the recently run Doomben 10,000 worth $800,000 and even the Coolmore Stud Stakes down the Flemington straight worth $1,000,000, look in need of review.

Having missed their chance to be proactive, I’m very interested in the response, if any, that is to come from Racing Victoria who have seemed largely opposed to suggested changes to the traditional racing calendar. Perhaps it’s time to map out a calendar with all racing jurisdictions in mind that stops racing cannibalising itself.

The introduction of these races does little to increase the health of the sport outside of higher attendance numbers and increased turnover on these racedays. So, the main question that remains is who is paying for this massive cash splash in New South Wales? The Clubs? The Owners? The Trainers? The Government? Or perhaps The Punter? The answer is, we don’t know. Do you feel this spending is Sweet or Not Sweet for the future of racing in Australia?

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