Racing Victoria (RV) has today released the program for the 2024 jumps racing season which largely mirrors the successful 2023 season.
The program features 19 jumps meetings throughout Victoria – six of which will be held exclusively for jumps riders – with 41 hurdle races and 24 steeplechase races programmed prior to any divisions.
The season will commence on Tuesday, 12 March at Warrnambool – the most active track with six jumps meetings – and again conclude with the Grand National Steeplechase meeting at Sportsbet Ballarat on Sunday, 25 August.
The iconic Warrnambool May Racing Carnival will again headline the season, running from Tuesday, 30 April to Thursday, 2 May and featuring the state’s richest jumps race, the $400,000 Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m).
There are two notable programming changes in 2024 to enhance the pattern of feature races and maximise fields:
- The Two Rivers Steeplechase (3800m) has moved from the end of June back to Casterton Cup Day on Sunday, 19 May; and
- The Australian Hurdle (3900m) and the Australian Steeplechase (3900m) at Sportsbet Sandown will move to Sunday, 2 June from their previous May timeslot.
The 2024 season will also see the introduction of the Adam Lindsay Gordon Series – a joint initiative by the AJRA and Country Racing Victoria (CRV) to promote the rich history of jumps racing in Victoria’s western districts.
Points will be allocated based on finishing position (5 points for first, 3 points for second and 1 point for third) in the following four heats with the winning jockey and trainer determined on the season-ending Grand National Day:
- BM120 Hurdle (3400m), Hamilton, Thursday 30 May
- BM120 Hurdle (3500m), Casterton, Sunday 30 June
- 0-114 Hurdle (3300m), Coleraine, Sunday 11 August
- BM120 Steeplechase (3600m), Ballarat, Sunday 25 August
As part of the programming process and as occurred prior to the current flat racing season, prizemoney levels were also reviewed given the ongoing decline in the wagering market and in turn industry revenues.
A total prizemoney pool of $4.76 million will be on offer across the 2024 season, returning to that offered in the 2022 season with a 3.5% reduction from 2023.
Minimum prizemoney levels of $35,000 per race have been maintained, however there has been targeted prizemoney reductions to some feature races which are outlined as part of the full 2024 Jumps Racing Program, available here.
Quotes attributable to RV Jumps Racing Manager - Josh Grimwood
“The release of the jumps racing program officially begins the countdown to the 2024 season where we have maintained the same volume of racing as recent seasons and made some minor adjustments to the flow of feature races.
“The picturesque Two Rivers Steeplechase returns to Casterton Cup Day and now sits nicely between the Warrnambool Carnival and the Australian Hurdle and Steeplechase meeting at Sportsbet Sandown which pushes back into early June.
“The stage is again set for an epic May Racing Carnival at Warrnambool where eight jumps races are expected to run with maiden divisions, before the season builds towards another thrilling finale at Sportsbet Ballarat.
“As occurred with the formulation of the program for the 2023-24 flat season, we’ve had to critically review prizemoney for the 2024 jumps racing season owing to a declining wagering market and industry revenues.
“As a result, we’ve made targeted reductions to selected feature race prizemoney, whilst ensuring that the minimum prizemoney for jumps races remains at $35,000.
“A total of $4.76 million in prizemoney will be on offer across the 2024 jumps racing season – representing the same amount as the 2022 season at an average of over $72,000 per race.”