Several years in the making, the powers that be in Sydney area racing determined they could generate a lot more interest and revenue in their April racing program (the “Aussie Fall”) by putting $18 million into several races in a “Breeders Cup” format that are historically run during the “Sydney Easter Carnival” at Royal Randwick, Sydney’s top racing venue. The races with the additional purses will be run on Friday April 11th and Friday April 18th on USA time. The title for these Sydney races will the under the banner of “THE CHAMPIONSHIPS.”
What does this mean to the casual fan?
(1) The Doncaster Mile, the T.J. Smith Sprint (6 furlongs), and the Queen Elizabeth II (a mile and a quarter race), will all be the richest races, by purses offered, of their race type in the world. In fact, the Doncaster will have the largest purse for ANY mile race run in the world at $3 million, as will the T.J. Smith at $2,5 million be the largest purse for any sprint in the world. The QEII will have a $4 Million dollar purse. Several other Sydney races will be upgraded to the the million-dollar purse level to make for two Breeders’ Cup-style days of racing.
(2) With such high purses, it will be unlikely in the future that any horses from Hong Kong or Australia will contest Dubai World Cup, because the race days are only a few weeks apart, and it is easier for Hong Kong horses to ship to Australia than to Dubai. Conversely, it is an open question how many Europeans and American horses will ship in to contest these races.
(3) In the press conference that announced the new program, there does not appear to be any nomination fee similar to our Breeders’ Cup program. EVERYBODY is eligible at this point.