TAMWORTH Jockey Club’s feature race – the Tamworth Cup – will be worth $150,000 next year.
The TJC’s 2017 Tamworth Cup was worth $100,000, and club general manager Kay Jeffrey believes the additional prize money will make the April 29 Cup a major event.
“I’m absolutely blown away,” she said.
“Racing NSW have gone above and beyond for the country clubs and putting a focus on what we are trying to do. They are on the same page as us in wanting to involve the community and make it a big carnival for us.”
She said the prize money increase will also be a big help at “attracting sponsors to the club”.
“They can associate themselves with a great race day,” she added.
This year’s Tamworth Cup was won by Gosford galloper, Timeless Prince, but Tamworth trained horses, Mapmaker (Craig Martin) and Hammoon Boy (Sue Grills), finished close up in the placings.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said the significant prize money increase is one of five for a “key country feature races”.
He said the October 6 Port Macquarie Cup, the November 26 Goulburn Cup, the April 8, 2018 Wellington Boot, the April 29, 2018 Tamworth Cup and the May 3, 2018 Wagga Town Plate have all been upgraded to $150,000 races.
“These are well-established country feature races,” V’Landys said.
“The increase will provide impetus for the clubs to further develop these race meetings and build their recognition not only within racing, but to their local community.”
The Tamworth Cup prize money increase has perfect timing, with the TJC set to stage an eight-race TAB meeting on Friday.
It has attracted a field of 10 with three first starters – Tipuana (Kevin Dixon), Two More Angels (Sue Grills) and Washington George (Craig Martin) – all trained at Tamworth.
Tipuana is is a four-year-old gelding son of Eavesdropper who finished 7.7 lengths from Exitozo in a 1000 metre Gunnedah trial. Owner/trainer Kevin Dixon prepares him and will have Luke Cumberland aboard when they jump from barrier eight.
Two More Angels is a four-year-old bay mare trained by Grills. The horse will jump from barrier seven with Matthew Paget on top. The mare finished fourth in a 1000m Tamworth trial behind Silver Art.
Washington George is a three-year-old bay gelding prepared by Martin. The horse was beaten 12.75 lengths by Ramornie runner-up The Monstar in a 1000m Tamworth trial.
He jumps from barrier five Friday with Jessica Drury to make a riding comeback.
Racing NSW has also expanded the schedule of Showcase race meetings from 40 to 45 in 2017/18, upgrading five key country carnival race days to a minimum of $30,000 in prize money per race.
At most of these meetings there will be race-carrying prize money of $40,000 for horses who have not won a race and who are domiciled and trained in the NSW country area.