Significant prizemoney boost for jumps racing

After a thrilling conclusion to the 2021 jumps racing season at Sportsbet-Ballarat last week, Racing Victoria (RV), in consultation with the Australian Jumping Racing Association (AJRA), is pleased to today announce the details of $745,000 in prizemoney increases earmarked for next season.

The significant increase, which takes the total available prizemoney over the 2022 jumps racing season to more than $4.66 million, reflects the current strength of the sport across Victoria.  

The focal point of the 2022 campaign will again be the famous Warrnambool Racing Carnival from 3-5 May, with the jumps races held across the three days of the festival set to benefit to the tune of more than $100,000. 

The time-honoured Galleywood Hurdle (3200m) and Brierly Steeplechase (3450m), won respectively by The Statesman and Flying Agent this year, will both receive a $25,000 increase in 2022, taking their prize purses to $175,000. 

The Kevin Lafferty Hurdle (3200m), won in fine style by rising jumps star Saunter Boy, will increase from $100,000 to $125,000, together with three other features held in July. They are the Thackeray Steeplechase (3450m), which is run on the same day as the Kevin Lafferty Hurdle at Warrnambool; and the Brendan Drechsler Hurdle (3500m) and Mosstrooper Steeplechase (3500m), both held at Sportsbet-Pakenham.      

Saunter Boy’s emphatic win in the Kevin Lafferty Hurdle helped the nine-year-old gelding finish on top of the horse leaderboard in the 2021 J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship with 40 points, eight ahead of the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Social Element in second place. 

Saunter Boy’s co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, who capped a dominant campaign with five winners at the Ballarat season finale, ran away with the trainer category with their tally of 112 points putting them well clear of Henry Dwyer (48) in second. Steven Pateman took the title in the jockey ranks with 82 points, 22 ahead of the joint runners-up, Tom Ryan and Will Gordon. 

Another feature contest won by Saunter Boy, Maher-Eustace and Pateman was the Australian Hurdle (3900m), which has received an increase of $25,000 next season together with two other marquee jumps races at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown). Like the Australian Hurdle, the Australian Steeplechase (3900m) and the Crisp Steeplechase (4200m) will both now also carry a prize purse of $150,000. 

The Grand National Hurdle (4200m), held on the same day as the Crisp Steeplechase, has received an even bigger increase for 2022, rising by $50,000 to $300,000 where it retains its position as the nation’s richest hurdle race.

Casterton and Coleraine will also benefit next season, with both clubs’ feature steeplechase races increasing to a minimum of $60,000, with the headline Two Rivers Steeplechase over the live hedges at Casterton now worth $100,000. 

But it is not just the flagship jumps races which have seen significant increases, with minimum prize money levels now set at $35,000, whilst the majority of restricted races will be run for at least $40,000 during the 2022 season.  

“With jumps racing enjoying such strong support from some of Victoria’s leading stables and owners, these significant prizemoney increases reward the hard work and loyalty of our jumps participants and owners, and also ensures that the sport remains highly competitive with strong participation levels,” Josh Grimwood, RV’s Racing Operations Manager, said. 

“With prizemoney increases announced right across the board, from maiden hurdles to jumps racing’s marquee contests, all owners, trainers and jockeys are set to benefit, and this early announcement will assist stables in planning for the 2022 season. 

“Whilst the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival will again be the main event next year, there will be highlights across the six months of the 2022 season and these prizemoney increases reflects the importance of maintaining and indeed enhancing the sport’s appeal from the grass roots races through to its showpiece events.”        

In announcing the prizemoney increases, RV has advised that the $10,000 bonus scheme for horses which register the first win of their jumps racing career will no longer be offered from next season with the funds redirected into prizemoney.

“It is very pleasing to see the increase of prizemoney allocated evenly throughout the 2022 season,” Sandy McGregor, AJRA Chairman, said.  

“We welcome the increase for our participants, and feel it is a great result for the jumps racing industry. There has been considerable thought process and consultation behind the breakdown of prizemoney to ensure the maiden bonus was replaced with a more desirable outcome, and we feel that RV has achieved this across the board. 

“The committee thanks RV for their ongoing support, and Josh Grimwood who has been integral to the entire process.”

Full details of the prizemoney increases are as follows: