An interstate prizemoney turf war has escalated into a bitter war of words with Victoria Racing Club chairperson Amanda Elliott launching a verbal broadside at Racing NSW boss Peter V’Landys.
Speaking on Melbourne radio moments before announcing a record prizemoney boost for the Melbourne Cup - it will now be worth $8 million, up from $7.3 million - she said Sydney’s recent radical rich new races were counterproductive for the sport.
"We actually do have a national responsibility to the sport of racing in Australia," Mrs Elliott told RSN.
"We all know that we have geographic boundaries that sometimes gets a bit pushed and pulled and we're all doing our best for our own jurisdictions, but at the end of the day, the Australian racing industry is the one we care about.
"So this kind of single-minded determination to knock off Victoria just infuriates me to be honest.
"I think it's just a silly little man making silly decisions. I mean we all understand how important prizemoney is, don't get me wrong. But at the end of the day, racing is about so much more than prizemoney."
However, the verbal sledge towards her NSW counterpart didn't sit well with V’Landys.
"Personal abuse and cheap shots are very disappointing," he told the racenet website. "I will always play the ball not the player.
"I've got to say that if I said those sort of things about her (Elliott) I would probably be frog-marched out the door (of Racing NSW)."
This year’s Cup in November will now be the richest ever run as the VRC reacts to Sydney’s prizemoney power play for racing in the spring.
Tuesday's announcement came a week after Racing NSW announced a raft of rich new races aimed at stealing attention away from Melbourne’s famous spring carnival.
Central to the carnival is Flemington’s four feature days and the Melbourne Cup, which Elliott called “the jewel in the crown” of Australian racing.
At $8 million, the Lexus Melbourne Cup is the world’s richest handicap and the world’s richest staying race,” she said.
“It is the race every Australian owner, trainer and jockey wants to win, and internationally, has become one of the most sought after prizes in world racing.
“Connections cannot buy a place in the Melbourne Cup, it has to be earned. The results of the recently revamped Andrew Ramsden at Flemington highlights the sheer joy that comes with knowing your horse has secured a place in the Cup.”
The winner will now receive $4.4 million plus $250,000 in trophies, second place $1.1 million and third place $550,000.
Prizemoney will continue to be paid down to 12th place, with 6th to 12th to receive $160,000, up from $150,000.
Article courtesy of Nine and The Age