By Nicholas Godfrey
Australia: Belts are being tightened around the racing world owing to coronavirus and Sydney is no exception after news that prize-money for the city’s major autumn carnival races at next month’s two-day Championships meeting has been cut in half.
On the plus side, however, both high-profile cards at Randwick on April 4 and 11 are still set to go ahead behind closed doors – always subject to new government regulations.
Racing NSW issued a statement detailing the cuts for the Star-sponsored Championships.
“The main source of funding for prize-money is wagering which will be significantly reduced by the current lockdowns of pubs, clubs and TAB retail agencies,” the statement explained.
“Other sources funding for prize-money, being on-course attendances and sponsorship have also been severely impacted given the public is not currently permitted to attend race meetings.”
As a result, prize-money for all ten Championships races will be cut by 50%, while purses for the Country and Provincial Championship finals will be reduced by 20%. G2, G3 and Listed races are unchanged.
The centrepiece of The Championships is the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the April 11 card, won by the legendary Winx for the last three seasons, including on the final start of her career in 2019.
A target for the William Haggas-trained Addeybb, the Ranvet Stakes winner, and Japan’s Danon Premium, the 1m2f event is now worth A$2m (£1m), down from A$4m. Haggas’s Young Rascal is set to run in the Sydney Cup at the same meeting; Tom Marquand, who is setting the Sydney scene alight, rides both British-trained runners.
The Championships: revised prize-money levels
The Star Doncaster Mile A$3m to A$1.5m
TJ Smith A$2.5m to A$1.25m
Australian Derby A$2m to A$1m
Inglis Sires A$1m to A$500,000
Queen Elizabeth A$4m to A$2m
Sydney Cup A$2m to A$1m
Australian Oaks A$1m to A$500,000
Coolmore Legacy A$1m to A$500,000
Arrowfield 3YO Sprint A$1m to A$500,000
Percy Sykes A$1m to A$500,000