Five Group 1 races during the 2015 Sydney Spring Racing Carnival will be worth more prize money than ever thanks to a boost from the Australian Turf Club (ATC) including the Epsom Handicap now offering $1 million in total stakes.
Run at Royal Randwick on October 3 as one of three elite levels on the program the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) is set to attract a higher class spring competitor this spring thanks to the increase from $500,000 to $1 million in prize money.
Won last year by He’s Your Man, the second Epsom Handicap winner in as many years four Sydney’s best Chris Waller, the Epsom part of a $2.085 million increase to prize money across the Spring by the ATC announced on Wednesday.
“The Star Epsom Handicap is again Australia’s premier Spring mile race and we hope it can attract The Star Doncaster winners and runners, and those heading to races such as the Cox Plate as in previous years with champions such as Super Impose (1991), Filante (1996) and Racing To Win (2006),” ATC chief executive Darren Pearce said.
Possible 2015 Epsom Handicap-bound runners this season include the John O’Shea-trained Randwick Guineas runner-up Sweynesse and John Thompson’s Group 1 Flight Stakes winning filly First Seal.
Another notable increase from $350,000 to $750,000 in total stakes on Epsom Handicap Day is Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) that is often used as a lead-up for horses heading into Melbourne’s $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup over the same distance a fortnight later.
The other three Sydney classics to enjoy a boost in prize money for 2015 are the weight-for-age Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) on September 19, the fillies-only Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) on October 3 and the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) for three-year-olds on October 10 all held at Randwick and now worth $500,000 each.
Another bid by the ATC to attract some of the season’s best that could held south to Melbourne over staying in Sydney for the Group 1s is a cur to training fees across the racecourses from August 1 by 10%.
“Prizemoney is just one area where we have been able to return more of our surplus to the industry, and we are delighted to further bolster our Spring program,” Pearce continued.
“The reduction in track fees represents the beginning of a commitment to use surpluses to reduce costs for owners and we are committed to doing more in the future as we focus on continual improvement.”
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