Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) have announced the state will host a three week feature racing carnival in May next year, with the highlight being the newly revamped Group One Goodwood Handicap over 1200m.
TRSA announced that the Goodwood Handicap will become the state’s first race to be worth half a million dollars, as well as a raft of other changes designed to reinvigorate racing in the state.
“We had to try and pick a race that South Australia has become synonymous with, and sprinting is one of Australia’s fortes. The Goodwood is already well regarded and we believe this gives us the opportunity to really cement that,” said TRSA Chief Executive Jim Watters.
The new South Australian carnival will take place in between the Sydney autumn carnival and the Brisbane winter carnival.
The first weekend of the carnival is being shaped as ‘Ladies Day’ with the running of the Sangster Stakes and the South Australian Oaks. The South Australian Derby will be the feature event of the middle weekend, while the Goodwood Handicap will wrap up the carnival on the third Saturday. All three days will be run at the Morphettville track.
The Nitschke Stakes, Adelaide Guineas and Port Adelaide Cup will also find homes somewhere in the three week carnival.
The Adelaide Cup will still be run in May next year, but officials are hopeful it can get back to its traditional timeslot in March by 2013, with industry stakeholders confident that the state government will move the South Australian Adelaide Cup public holiday back to March.
Watters said the main aim of the changes was to make South Australian racing relevant on the national stage again.
“The general feedback we got was that the Cup should definitely be run in May and that South Australian racing is too disjointed,” he said.
“We have to look at the bigger picture and if we don’t have this window where we are the highlight, when decisions are being made down the track, there is a risk that South Australia could become a backwater.”
All in all an extra $838,000 has been committed to boosting prize money in South Australia.