One of the crucial Melbourne Cup qualifying races will be worth an additional $75,000 this spring with the Geelong Cup 2012 having had a significant prize money boost.
Due to run on Wednesday October 24 the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) has had its total stakes raised from $225,000 to $300,000 confirming itself as one of the premier country cup clashes in Victoria.
The Geelong Cup’s profile has been enhanced in recent years having produced the past two Melbourne Cup winners.
Two years ago Alain de Royer Dupre’s French stayer Americain travelled down under and won the 2010 Geelong Cup in their Aussie debut before going on to score victory in the ‘race that stops a nation’ at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Emulating Americain’s feats 12 months later was then the fellow French galloper Dunaden for trainer Mikel Delzangles who also won the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double in their maiden two runs on Australian soil.
This French-trained duo weren’t the first internationals to take out the coveted Cups double however with Dermot Weld’s Irish champion Media Puzzle the first to do so back in 2002 with Damien Oliver in the saddle.
While they didn’t win the Melbourne Cup 2008 Geelong Cup winner Bauer from the English stables of Luca Cumani went on to run a nose away second to Viewed in the world’s richest handicap while the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Crime Scene ran sixth in the 2009 Geelong Cup before finishing runner-up to Shocking in that year’s Melbourne Cup.
Other Victorian Country Cups to enjoy a major stakes increase recently are the Listed Bendigo Cup (2200m) on October 31 going up 25% to $200,000, and the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) on November 25 that will now also be worth $200,000 after rising by 33%.
Following the amplified Geelong Cup prize money the Geelong Racing Club will put forward a proposal to the Australian Pattern Committee next season for the race to be elevated to a Group 2 status event.
“Increasing the prize money to $300,000 plus trophies enhances the Centrebet Geelong Cup’s rightful standing as the premier country Cup in Victoria,” Geelong Racing Club president Paul Bongiorno said.
“Having our last two Geelong Cup winners in Americain and Dunaden go on and win the Melbourne Cup demonstrates the significant elevation in status of our Cup.
“We believe the prize money now on offer is in keeping with it being the key lead up race to the Melbourne Cup and now gives the ever-increasing number of international horses further incentive to contest the event.”
The Geelong Racing Club chief executive Paul Carroll confirmed that they would be chasing a status upgrade for the Geelong Cup 2013 and that in doing so the club hoped to attract even more international competitors than ever before.
“I believe Racing Victoria will be putting forward a case to the committee for the race to be upgraded to a Group Two race,” Carroll said.
“The win by Media Puzzle brought the Geelong Cup to the attention of international trainers.
“I think trainers like to follow a successful route to a particular race and this year we are hoping we might get three to four international runners.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au over the coming months for all the latest Geelong and Melbourne Cup updates.
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