Royal Randwick Racecourse

(Photo : Royal Randwick Facebook page)


Racing New South Wales in conjunction with the Australian Turf Club have announced a significant change to the autumn racing calendar with the creation of “The Championships” at Royal Randwick. The series, to be conducted over consecutive Saturdays April 12 and 19, 2014, is expected to attract horses from across Australia and the world.

Through the support of the New South Wales government, over A$18 million in prize money will be on offer. “The NSW government is pleased to have contributed A$10 million to the event,” said Minister for Racing George Souris. “The Championships will generate more than A$41 million to the economy of NSW, increasing further as the event gains momentum. We have chosen this path to help ensure funds accumulated from race fields fees are preserved for use in country and provincial areas.” The highlight of the first of the two programs is the G1 The Star Doncaster Mile H., which will assume the mantle of the world’s richest race at the distance with purse money of A$3 million.

Also on the April 12 program are the A$2.5-million G1 Darley T. J. Smith S., a race won twice by Black Caviar (Aus) and now the world’s richest open turf sprint race; the A$2-million G1 BMW Australian Derby; and the A$1-million G1 Sires’ Produce S., the second leg of the Australian 2-year-old Triple Crown. The following Saturday will feature the G1 Queen Elizabeth S., and will be the world’s richest turf race over 2000 meters at A$4-million.

Randwick will also host three other A$1-million races: the Schweppes Sydney Cup at 3200 meters; the Australian Oaks and the Queen of the Turf S. “We have identified 10 Championship races across various age and distance ranges which are the highlight of these two days,” explained Racing NSW Chairman John Messara. “Some of these races become the richest of their category in Australia and the world. Eight of those races are already Group 1 events and with the injection of almost A$10 million, this program will lure the finest horses from Australia and New Zealand and from other countries across the globe. Our goal is for this to become the greatest event for racing in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Noble enough, and a spectacular initiative, but in the light of the overwhelming superiority of South African performances over their counterparts from Australasia in Dubai over the years (sadly, the only place we’ve been able to compare one another), how can any tournament be dubbed a “southern hemisphere championship” without meaningful participation from here? It’s rather like the Rugby World Cup before we emerged from our isolation to win the very first one we contested.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News (includes a note from us at the end)