Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) has announced prizemoney increases for the coming racing year across all three codes of racing in Queensland totalling $3.5 million. These initiatives will become effective from September 1, 2012.
RQL chairman Kevin Dixon said that the changes announced today have been made possible thanks to the new State Government’s $5 million commitment to the Queensland Thoroughbred Investment Scheme (QTIS).
“The funding allocation to QTIS from the Government has freed up funds previously used by RQL for this purpose, which can now be redirected toward much needed prizemoney,” said Mr Dixon.
“In addition, RQL has identified internal administration savings which will be reallocated and used to fund the remaining $1 million of the increase.
“Whilst prizemoney is still far from parity with the southern states, RQL recognises that the new LNP Government has acted quickly to assist the industry,” added Mr Dixon.
An immediate priority for the RQL board has been to ensure that metropolitan midweek thoroughbred racing is once again competitive and have therefore resolved to increase prizemoney from $13,000 per race to $17,000. At the same time, metropolitan midweek meetings will return to eight races.
In addition, 42 midweek races for two and three-year-old horses will now be classed as QTIS bonus races, carrying added prizemoney of $10,000 per race, giving these races a total purse of $27,000.
“This initiative means that metropolitan midweek meetings will increase from total prizemoney of $91,000 to $146,000 per meeting, which is an increase of 60 per cent,” said Mr Dixon.
“We know that better prizemoney attracts better fields, which in turn attracts higher wagering and it is wagering that keeps the industry ticking over.”
Mr Dixon said that country thoroughbred racing will also benefit from this announcement with non-strategic race meetings’ prizemoney increasing from $4000 per race, to $5000.
“RQL has stated an intention of achieving prizemoney parity between strategic and non-strategic racedays, and today’s announcement represents the first move toward that aim,” said Mr Dixon.
“It is our intention to move to $6000 as funding becomes available. This is in addition to the $1 million funding pledged by the LNP for 20 extra country racing meetings.”
Harness and greyhound racing have also been given a much needed injection with each code allocated $400,000 in additional prizemoney funding.
“The allocation to harness racing will be used to add races to existing meetings, allowing Saturday night meetings to be increased to 10 races, and Wednesday and Thursday meetings to nine races,” Mr Dixon said
In addition, four Monday race meetings will be run during July to trial the concept.
“In regard to greyhound racing, the $400,000 will be used to add race meetings throughout the racing year to bolster the currently scheduled program,” said Mr Dixon.