The Melbourne Cup has received another prize money injection, with the 2019 edition of Australia’s most famous race to be worth $8 million.
Victoria Racing Club chairman Amanda Elliott made the announcement on Tuesday, with the prize money increasing by $700,000 from the $7.3 million last year.
The connections of the winner will pocket $4.4 million, but Elliott says the prize money increase, which is the second increase in as many years for the Cup, is in no way a knee jerk reaction to recent prize money hikes in NSW for its revamped spring program.
In saying that, she also took a swipe at Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys, calling him “a silly little man making silly decisions” over the introduction of big money races in Sydney which clash with the Melbourne spring carnival.
“It is in no way a reaction,” Elliott said.
“That was ratified at a board meeting a month ago but we’ve been thinking about that, we actually thought about it last year as well.
“But we then thought, ‘why wouldn’t we make that announcement in the 100th year of the beautiful Melbourne Cup trophy? So that’s been on the cards for a long time.”
This year is the 159th Cup and marks the 100th anniversary of the three-handled Cup design.
The Melbourne Cup is the richest handicap in the world and the richest staying race.
“It is the race every Australian owner, trainer and jockey wants to win, and internationally, has become one of the most sought after prizes in world racing,” Elliott said.
“Connections cannot buy a place in the Melbourne Cup, it has to be earned.”
The $14 million The Everest in Sydney, which will have its third running this year, remains Australia’s richest race but the Melbourne Cup prize money lift takes it back above the newly created $7.5 million Golden Eagle for four-year-olds in Sydney.
Elliott admits she is “disappointed” and “frustrated” by some of the Racing NSW initiatives with its newly created spring races, but is also confident they will not be a threat to the Melbourne Cup carnival’s standing.
“Mr V’landys says disruption is a good thing, well I’m not sure it is in the racing landscape,” Elliott said.
“Of course we all want to be better. But I don’t understand why you wouldn’t respect the pattern and the rhythm of racing so that all the participants can do everything, they don’t have to choose between running in a very valuable pop-up race to running on a day that’s regarded as one of the purist racing days on the calendar.
“I don’t see it as a threat. I just see it as regrettable, because you’re separating the horse industry population which is actually regrettable. That’s all I see it as.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au