After coming under heavy criticism from Australian racehorse trainers and owners for their Patinack Farm Classic bonus, the Victorian Racing Club (VRC) has this week announced a re-booted version of the bonus to get back in the good books with the likes of Black Caviar’s connections.
The original bonus offered an extra $600,000 in prize money to the winning horse of this year’s Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) if they had previously won an overseas leg of the current Global Sprint Challange.
With Australian horses all but ruled out of eligibility for the bonus, the VRC were soon faced with a nasty backlash over the venture that was introduced to attract top-class international thoroughbreds to Victoria for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Held at the famous Flemington Racecourse on Emirates Stakes Day on the first Thursday of November, the Patinack Farm Classic was last year won by superstar sprinter Black Caviar, Peter Moody’s mare now a six-time elite level winner.
When Singapore sprinter Rocket Man qualified to vie for the bonus after winning the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m), his trainer Patrick Bernard Shaw announced his likely assault down under.
News of Rocket Man making an appearance saw infamous racehorse owner John Singleton announce a possible boycott of the spring classic sprint with his mare More Joyous, ‘Singo’ also naming Black Caviar and John McNair’s injury-ridden galloper Hay List as other possible defectors from the race.
The VRC went into damage control, desperately wanting to entice connections of Black Caviar to defend her Patinack Farm Classic title before sending the undefeated mare off-shore for an international campaign.
In the revamped conditions, the bonus is now also available to any horse that can win the Patinack this year and then be successful in any one of the six subsequent overseas Global Sprint Series races up until July 31, 2012.
“There has been much discussion regarding the Patinack Farm Classic bonus since it was first announced by the VRC and it has provided us with an opportunity to revisit the principles on which the bonus was first determined,” VRC Chief Executive Dale Monteith said.
“This has enables us, with some increased financial exposure, to provide a structure that we believe gives the best possible chance of attracting international sprinters to Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival and to also encourage Australian horses to prove themselves on the world stage.
“Like all new initiatives, the success of the bonus arrangements will be reviewed by the VRC prior to the conclusion of the three year trial.
“We very much look forward to the Patinack Farm Classic being one of the highlights of the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival.”
With Moody having already named the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December as a possible overseas aim for his mighty mare Black Caviar, connections are now sure to want her there in the Patinack first.