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Cup Week to culminate in bumper VRC Champions Stakes Day

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is pleased to announce $5.2 million in major prizemoney increases to the world-class racing program at Flemington Racecourse, highlighted by the introduction of VRC Champions Stakes Day

Prizemoney on offer during this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival has increased by $3.7 million to nearly $30 million.

The final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival will now be known as VRC Champions Stakes Day and is expected to attract the best local and international horses with three feature Group 1 races across 1200m, 1600m and 2000m each worth $3 million, creating a $10 million race day with the following Group 1 races:

  • $3 million Group 1 Darley Champions Sprint (1200m), registered as the VRC Sprint Classic.
  • $3 million Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m), registered as the Cantala Stakes.
  • $3 million Group 1 VRC Champions Stakes (2000m), registered as the Mackinnon Stakes.

Conditions for the Kennedy Champions Mile have also changed, with the race to be run under weight-for-age conditions instead of the traditional handicap format.

Another significant change to the Melbourne Cup Carnival program is an increase to the prizemoney of the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day by $500,000 to $2 million. The sprint is the most important race on the calendar for three-year- old sprinters and has cemented its place as Australia’s key stallion-making race.

The Coolmore Stud Stakes features alongside the 169th Penfolds Victoria Derby on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival on what is traditionally Australia’s premier race day.

In another boost to Penfolds Victoria Derby Day the Group 2 TAB Linlithgow Stakes (1200m) has been proposed to move to 1400m and elevated to $500,000 via additional VRC funding. It sits alongside the $500,000 Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) as other highlights on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day.

Flemington’s autumn showpiece event is the time honoured Group 1 TAB Australian Cup (2000m) which has been elevated from $1.5 million to $3 million and will now sit on the third of three permanent race days at Flemington in March.

The TAB Australian Cup is Victoria’s premier autumn middle distance race and will now be run on Saturday 25 March, one week after The All-Star Mile. It will be run following the Group 1 Australian Guineas and Group 1 Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, with race dates outlined in the table below.

Outside of the feature Group races, Racing Victoria has increased minimum prizemoney for Saturday races to $150,000 with benchmark races at $130,000. Listed races in Victoria will now be worth more than Listed races in any other state, with the minimum increased to $175,000.

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said the introduction of VRC Champions Stakes Day and the increase in prizemoney to Group 1 races on the day was an exciting development for the club and the broader racing industry.

“VRC Champions Stakes Day has been years in the making, with the club pleased to be able to deliver on its vision for a significant grand finale to Cup Week,” Mr Wilson said.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the world’s greatest racing events and we have four days of elite racing that will continue to attract horses from here and abroad.

“The appeal of Cup Week stretches far and wide, with local and international spectators set to be captivated by the best of the best competing at Flemington.

“We are also pleased to see Headquarters host three bumper Group 1 race days in March, with the VRC’s autumn racing spectacular now set to reach a crescendo on TAB Australian Cup Day where the time-honoured Group 1 will feature a prize pool befitting its status as one of the nation’s most important weight-for-age races.

“The VRC thanks Racing Victoria and the VRC Board for its support to elevate prizemoney by $5.2 million to world-leading levels not only for our major autumn and spring carnivals but for 23 premium meetings including ten Group 1 race days at Flemington across the year.”

The Melbourne Cup Carnival begins with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 29 October with Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 1 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 3 November and VRC Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 5 November.

Tickets for the Melbourne Cup Carnival are now on sale. For more information, please click here

INCREASED PRIZEMONEY FOR GROUP RACES AT FLEMINGTON:

Class Race name Distance (metres) Prizemoney 2021-22 ($) Prizemoney 2022-23 ($)
Group 1 Darley Champions Sprint 1200 2,000,000 3,000,000
Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes 1200 1,500,000 2,000,000
Group 2 TAB Linlithgow Stakes 1400 (to be confirmed) 300,000 500,000 (VRC top up)
Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile 1600 2,000,000 3,000,000
Group 1 VRC Champions Stakes 2000 2,000,000 3,000,000
Group 1 TAB Australian Cup 2000 1,500,000 3,000,000

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Source: Victoria Racing Club