Ballarat Cup Day stakes reach $1m

The Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer (Damien Oliver) wins last year''s Ballarat Cup
The Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer (Damien Oliver) wins last year''s Ballarat Cup

BALLARAT will have its first million dollar Cup Day this year.

The stakemoney boost coincides with the Ballarat Cup's move to a Saturday as a metropolitan race meeting on November 22.

This represents an increase of $235,000 on last year, when the au Ballarat Cup carried a record $200,000.

Stakemoney for the feature sprint, Tonks Plate, 1200m, has been lifted by $15,000 to $80,000.

The minimum stake for support races goes from $20,000 to $50,000.

The Ballarat Cup, $200,000 Magic Millions Clockwise 2yo Classic, $100,000 Magic Millions 3yo Classic and $100,000 VOBIS Gold Eureka 3yo Stockade remain at the same level as last year.

Ballarat Turf Club chief executive officer Lachlan McKenzie, announcing the stakes increase on Wednesday, said the rise was testimony to the importance of the Ballarat Cup meeting.

"Ït's a fantastic achievement for the club.

"The increased prizemoney will ensure our premier meeting is supported by Australia's leading trainers and jockeys," he said.

Champion Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse took out last year's Ballarat Cup with Irish import The Offer, which is early favourite for the 2014 Melbourne Cup, and Hawkesbury trainer Garry Frazer guided Sheer Style to victory in the Magic Millions Clockwise 2yo Classic.

McKenzie said the announcement capped off a remarkable rise in stakes over the past four seasons.

He said the backing of the Gold Coast-based Magic Millions and introduction of the VOBIS Gold series had been instrumental in the growth.

Cup Day was worth $465,000 in 2011, $625,000 in 2012 with the addition of the Magic Millions Clockwise 2yo Classic, before moving to $765,000 last year when Magic Millions 3yo Classic and VOBIS Gold Eureka 3yo Stockade were run for the first time.

The $1m does not include bonuses such as offered by VOBIS Gold and Super VOBIS schemes.

The new Cup Day program:

- $200,000 listed Ballarat Cup, 2200m

- $200,000 Magic Millions Clockwise 2yo Classic, 1000m (Super VOBIS bonus)

- $100,000 Thomas Jewellers VOBIS Gold Eureka 3yo Stockade, 1400m (VOBIS Gold)

- $100,000 Magic Millions 3yo Classic, 1100m (Super VOBIS)

- $80,000 City of Ballarat Tonks Plate, 1200m

- $80,000 Redbank Open Handicap, 1600m

- $80,000 open mares' handicap, 1200m

- $60,000 Tracy The Placement People Benchmark84 Handicap, 1400m

- $50,000 SITA Australian Benchmark70 Handicap, 1600m

- $50,000 Isuzu Benchmark84 Handicap, 1600m

The BTC announced in May last year it was setting its sights on a million dollar Cup Day.

McKenzie said at the time that the barrier would be broken when the Cup meeting moved to a Saturday.

The Cup Day stakemoney announcement comes a day after Racing Victoria and the BTC further delayed the return to racing in Ballarat until October.

The BTC has not raced since last year's Ballarat Cup meeting in late November, with a $1.5m refurbishment of the racing surface on the inner track being carried out.

Racing was originally planned to resume in May and then later rescheduled to June, but has been delayed owing to problems with compaction of turf in the home straight, where a dip has been removed.

Ballarat plans to have three meetings before the Cup.


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