Geelong snares twin racing wins
GEELONG Racing Club (GRC) will host two half-million-dollar races in the next 12 months after securing major boosts for both its spring and autumn carnivals.
A pumped-up prize purse for the region’s centrepiece meeting and a rotating regional race landing at Geelong Racecourse at Easter next year will underpin the upcoming spring and autumn racing carnivals to cement the city as one of country Victoria’s leading venues.
This year’s Geelong Cup will have its purse boosted by $100,000 to reach $500,000 in total prizemoney for the first time.
Meanwhile, the $500,000 Country Discovery is also locked in for Geelong on Good Friday 2023 after launching at the richest sprint race in regional Victoria at Sale earlier this year.
GRC CEO Luke Rayner said the extra prizemoney would help attract more top-level racing to Geelong as a key lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup that runs the following week.
“It brings more intrigue, hopefully there’s a few more local horses like we saw with Tralee Rose and (trainer) Symon Wilde from the Warrnambool stable last year, I wonder if there’s one from Rosemont to bring a local flavour as well,” he said.
“You hope it’s a successful day – there’s lots of components to a successful Geelong Cup, there’s racing, participants, jockeys, owners, hospitality, general patrons, there’s a lot of elements that have to be pulled together.
“But there’s no doubt that having a Group Three, 2400m country cup with prizemoney of $500,000 is a real positive.”
The improved kitty brings Geelong in line with Ballarat and Cranbourne as the top feature races across regional Victoria, while Bendigo also received a cash windfall to reach the same benchmark.
Meanwhile, the Geelong club expects this year’s Good Friday event to also be a hit, with limited racing elsewhere and an influx of tourists to the region for Easter to bolster crowds.
“For our local participants, local trainers and local horses, it gives them a boost in terms of having their local venue with that level or prizemoney on that day, and it gives them a chance to target some of those races and hopefully snare a win or two,” Mr Rayner said.
GRC anticipates the raceday will also boost the traditional Good Friday Appeal, with the inaugural event including a $100,000 contribution for the Royal Children’s Hospital fundraiser.
Club president Peter Murrihy thanked his committee and Country Racing Victoria, who he said were instrumental in delivering the racing boosts to the city.