All roads will again lead to Ballarat for Australia’s richest race for battlers, The Hotham, on Friday, Octiober 12.
Such was the success of the inaugural running of the maiden last year, Sportsbet has increased stakemoney by $25,000 to $75,000.
This will mean a bigger return for starters finishing down the track, with the 10th horse across the line earning $3000.
Sportsbet chief executive Barni Evans believes The Hotham can become a regular highlight on Ballarat’s racing calendar.
“Racing is known as the sport of kings, but at the end of the day there are plenty of battlers that contribute just as much to the industry as those at the high end,” Evans said.
“The Sportsbet Hotham gives an opportunity for those at the coal face to be part of a showcase event that celebrates country racing.”
Ballarat chief executive Lachlan McKenzie said The Hotham proved to be a huge success and ranked it third behind Ballarat Cup Day and the Grand National Steeplechase meeting.
“Last year was awesome. The Hotham was warmly received and the atmosphere on the day was fantastic. The Sportsbet Ballarat Cup and Grand National are our premier events, but Hotham day was outstanding and something we’re very proud to be associated with.”
McKenzie said the club had already receiving inquiries about this year’s race.
“The Hotham has generated so much interest and it is now a target race. We’re aware of a couple of trainers that are looking to buy horses to set for The Hotham.”
Last year’s Hotham attracted 137 nominations, which was a record for a Victorian maiden. The winner, Woohoo, made the journey from Tasmania and has not won another race since.