The inaugural Victorian Country Cups Series kicked back into gear last Friday, 29 September with the running of the bet365 Benalla Gold Cup and the bet365 Coleraine Cup, the first two spring country cups that will help shape the field for the grand final on Schweppes Caulfield Thousand Day.
Claidheamh Mor, trained by Gemma Rielly, skyrocketed up the leaderboard to second position (10 points) following the gelding’s win at Coleraine whilst Busuttin-Young-trained galloper Brayden Star (5 points) boosted his chances of gaining a start in the final with his Benalla Cup victory. Recently crowned Country Racing Victoria Horse of the Year, Not Usual Glorious (Travis Doudle), currently tops the leaderboard with 12 points.
The $500,000 Victorian Country Cups Final (2000m), to be showcased on Caulfield’s newest Group 1 raceday on Saturday, 18 November 2023, will feature the best-performed horses from Victorian racing’s 55 country cups.
The ballot order for the final will be determined by points accumulated in Victorian country cups from November 2022 through to the bet365 Ararat Gold Cup (2000m), held the week prior to the final on Sunday, 12 November 2023.
Points are awarded on a 5-2-1 basis to the first three horses home in each Country Cup. In the event of a dead-heat, the points won’t be shared with each horse receiving the full quota for first, second or third.
Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Matt Welsh, said: “Victoria’s 55 country cups now have added value with each one representing a vital chance for horses to earn valuable points that will ultimately shape the lucrative Victorian Country Cups Final on Caulfield Thousand Day.
“We’ve launched this initiative to give greater context and narrative to Victoria’s country cups circuit and recognise the standout performers. The country cups, which are steeped in history, play a key role in bringing together regional communities right across the state.
The Victorian Country Cups Final at Caulfield will be a Benchmark 100 Handicap featuring a field of 16 starters (plus four emergencies) with a minimum topweight of 62kg at the declaration of weights.
The winner will receive $275,000, with $90,000 for second, $45,000 for third, $25,000 for fourth, $15,000 for fifth, with horses finishing sixth to 10th receiving $10,000 each.
Points have been calculated across the 36 country cups run from November 2022 through to the bet365Swan Hill Cup (1600m) won by Not Usual Glorious in June 2023.
Click here to view the current Country Cups Series Leaderboard.
RV will update and republish the points table for the Victorian Country Cups Series each Monday throughout the Spring Racing Carnival.
Following the Benalla and Coleraine Cups, the next qualifying races will be the Ecycle Solutions Murtoa Cup and Moama Bowling Club Gunbower Cups on Sunday, 7 October.