VRC Announces Inaugural Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series

June 20, 2017 02:50pm
Melbourne Cup Festival at Flemington Racecourse
Photo: Jupiter Firelyte

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) and Racing Victoria (RV) are pleased to announce the inaugural $600,000 Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series which will see Victoria’s best up and coming country-trained gallopers vie for a chance to compete for lucrative prize money on VRC Oaks Day.


From the Wimmera Mallee in the west to Gippsland in the east, the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series will feature eight $50,000 heats to be run across country Victorian tracks, concluding with a $200,000 Benchmark 80 final over 1600 meters at Flemington Racecourse on 9 November, 2017.


Eligibility will be restricted to Victorian trainers who do not have a metropolitan training base. Horses that finish first and second in each heat will earn their way into the final, which replaces a race for country horses that has featured on the VRC Oaks Day program for more than a decade.


Each heat venue (listed below) will also have the opportunity to host the $200,000 Emirates Melbourne Cup in a bid to immerse locals in the atmosphere of Victoria’s coveted Spring Racing Carnival and the nation’s most famous race.


VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said the Club was thrilled to boost its support of country racing.


“The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final presents a wonderful opportunity for connections of country-trained gallopers to experience the magic of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, one of the world’s premier racing events. The VRC is also delighted to be sharing the 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup with local racegoers as part of the series,” Mrs Elliott said.


“The VRC continues to acknowledge the important contribution that regional participants make to racing, with Flemington to open its gates to residents of Victorian provincial and country areas on Saturday 24 June for Provincial and Country Raceday.”


RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the VRC was to be congratulated on the innovation around the VRC Oaks Day race, which will benefit from the industry’s continued investment in country racing.


“The VRC is to be commended for its passion in seeking to progress this series, which has been developed in partnership with Racing Victoria to enhance the profile of country racing in this state and further reward country participants,” Mr Carpenter said.


“We were pleased to demonstrate our commitment to country racing last month by announcing a $6 million increase in prize money and bonuses next season – part of a further $15.5 million statewide investment aimed at stimulating growth and interest in our sport in Victoria.


“This new race series builds upon our previously announced investment in country racing and will be another highlight of this year’s Spring Racing Carnival which commences in a little over two months with Memsie Stakes Day on Saturday 2 September.


“The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series reinvigorates country racing’s link with VRC Oaks Day and will provide Victorian country trainers and their connections with the unique chance to compete in a $200,000 final on one of Victoria’s most famous race days.”


Country Racing Victoria Chief Executive Scott Whiteman said the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series is another important step in recognizing the value of country racing.


“This is a tremendous decision by RV and will be a much sought after race. The VRC is to be congratulated too for its determination to once again raise the profile of this important race,” Mr Whiteman said.


For more information on Provincial and Country Raceday, including special privileges for Victorian country race club members, visit flemington.com.au.

Source: Victoria Racing Club 


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