Day At The Track

Harness Racing Victoria Stakes announcement

08:07 PM 16 Jul 2013 NZST
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Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board has approved the 2013/14 season racing calendar and budget.

1. Racing Calendar

There will be three more race meetings in the coming year (456) and there will be a similar number of races programmed.

There is no material difference in the number of meetings conducted by each Club.

Tabcorp Park Melton will conduct 66 meetings (65 in 2012/13) and this year will have 11 Saturday night meetings (up from 7 in 2012/13).

2. Financial Performance

HRV is forecasting an unaudited profit in excess of $1.6m in 2012/13 which is a major turnaround from the $6.6m loss in 2011/12.

The budget for 2013/14 forecasts a similar trend with a profit again estimated at $1.6m. Wagering revenue is expected to increase from $55.9m in 2012/13 up to $57.3m in 2013/14.

3. Stakemoney
HRV is pleased to announce a $2.5m increase in stakes, up from $33.5m in 2012/13 to $36m in 2013/14. Due to the phased nature of the increases, the full year impact is an increase of $3.9m.

The key features of stakemoney rises for next season are as follows.

Career Penalty and Metropolitan Stakes:

The minimum career penalty stake of $5,000 will rise by 10% up to $5,500 effective from 1 September 2013;

The minimum career penalty stake will rise a further $500 up to $6,000 from 1 March 2014 - a total increase of 20%;

At the time of the second rise, the distribution will change to account for a payment of $50 for horses which finish from 6th to last. The actual stake will be $115, which will include the drivers' fee, which is in line with current practice for stakemoney paid for 1st to 5th placegetters;

The Metropolitan stake will rise by $1,000 to $16,000 for M1 or better class races from 1 September 2013;

o From 1 March 2014 Metropolitan stakes will rise to $16,000 for M0 class races and to $17,000 for M1 or better class races. Note that M0 or better Free For All races will remain at $20,000.

To ensure Vicbred continues to be the national leader in breeding incentive schemes the following enhancements are to be made to Vicbred:

i. The First Win Bonus will increase on 1 September 2013 from $5,000 to $7,000 for the 2YO crop in the 2013/14 season. The increase will be extended to 2YO and 3YO in 2014/15 and 2YO, 3YO and 4YO in 2015/16;

ii. The Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Finals in July 2014 will all increase by $10,000 with the Pacers Finals increasing to $110,000 and Trotters Finals to $60,000. It is the Board's intent to increase each of these finals by $10,000 each year.
With the increases in the Vicbred First Win Bonus and the basic stake it means winning connections will receive (for a career class race) $11,000, up from the current $8,300 for the first win.

Fillies and Mares:

Consistent with HRV's strategy to promote fillies and mares racing, the following races will increase by $5,000 - up to $25,000:
Golden Wattle Cup
Tailamade Lombo
Angelique Club Cup
Jodies Babe
Make Mine Cullen
Richmond Lass
Jane Ellen

To further promote the fillies, the Victoria Oaks heats will rise from $15,000 to $20,000 each. The Victoria Oaks Final will rise from $100,000 to $150,000.

Further Increases:

Other races which will receive increased stakes are:

(increase in brackets)

Country Clubs Championship

VHRSC Metropolitan Cup

VHRSC Provincial Cup

Breed for Speed – Silver 

Breed for Speed – Bronze

Bray Country Cups Final    

The Holmfield           

Vicbred Championship Final   

Winter Trotters Cup              



















Feature Races:

The HRV Board has chosen to leave the major feature races at existing levels - except for the Great Southern Star.
Prizemoney for the Great Southern Star will increase from $350,000 to $400,000, being $50,000 for each semi-final and $300,000 for the Final.

This brings the Great Southern Star into line with HRV's other features, the SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup and the Del Re National Food Group Hunter Cup.

Other Increases:

The current practice of running $1,500 penalty free races for non-winners on Saturday night programs will change to $3,000 restricted penalty races for non-winners.

Drivers' fees for restricted races will increase from $60 to $65.

Full Year Impact:

While the above stakes increases represent an additional $2.5m in the 2013/14 financial year, the full year impact will not be felt until 2014/15, when stakes will rise by a further $1.4m to $37.4m.

Victorian Premier and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine welcomed the increases in stakemoney and other returns to trots participants including owners, breeders, drivers and trainers.

"The harness racing industry is vital to Victoria's economy generating more than $400 million in annual economic benefits and 4,000 jobs, the majority in country Victoria".

"These stakemoney increases will help grow confidence in the industry. Combined with initiatives such as the Coalition Government supported Vicbred Platinum program and infrastructure upgrades they point to a healthy future for Victorian harness racing."

HRV Chairman Ken Latta said that he was pleased to be able to deliver these stakes rises following several tough years financially.

"The stakes rises have been deliberately placed in accordance with the Board's Strategic Plan and following consultation with the industry," Latta said.

"The increases to the basic stakes, enhancements to the Vicbred scheme, increases for mares and fillies races and additional support for trotting are all consistent with the Board's current strategies and policies."

Mr Latta said that HRV had invested heavily in infrastructure over the past decade, having upgraded many of our tracks around regional Victoria, as well as the major investment in the future of the sport at Tabcorp Park Melton.

While the Board remains steadfast in its commitment to the sport's integrity and the Country Club network, its priority now is to maximise returns to industry participants via stakes and bonuses.

"We have many talented young people in the sport and it is important that they have confidence that harness racing in Victoria has a sustainable future. The industry must also realise that wagering growth is the key to further increases in stakes therefore the Board will be looking at areas such as handicapping and programming with a view to ensuring our product is as attractive as possible to punters."

John Anderson - Chief Executive


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