Prize Money Boosted in Races Across South Australia

South Australian breeders and trainers have effusively welcomed news of a seven-year sponsorship deal bringing an immediate doubling in prize money for the state’s four group 1s, saying it will bring many benefits, including improvements to the state’s broodmare band.

Racing SA and the South Australian Jockey Club announced a partnership with Sportsbet that will initially boost prize money to AU$1 million for the Australasian Oaks (G1) and Robert Sangster Stakes (G1) April 27, the SA Derby (G1) May 4, and The Goodwood (G1) May 11.

The agreement, following a 15% hike for all other races across SA from last July, comes as a significant fillip for the industry in South Australia—so long seen as the poor cousin of major racing states—with its AU$500,000 group 1 purses last year the lowest among top-tier races in Australia.

SA Thoroughbred Breeders president Ralph Satchell said the news would have substantial flow-on effects for breeders in the state.

“It’s great. The industry here in South Australia—you just get the feel it’s on the up,” Willow Grove Stud’s Satchell told ANZ Bloodstock News.

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“Race fields are bigger, we’ve got a lot of young trainers coming on in the state, and this prize-money boost is going to increase investment in yearlings, and obviously that flows through to the breeders.

“A lot of the breeders in South Australia participate as owners, race their own products or staying in partnerships. Now, there’s more incentive to race in our home state, and breed horses to race here. It’s all positive.

“And knowing this is a seven-year deal is a great thing. That adds a bit of longevity to it, and our whole industry is about longevity. It’s a long-term job, breeding. This will help breeders plan for the future, invest more, and improve their stock.”

The Sportsbet deal also follows this season’s 22% increase, to a cap of AU$2.8 million, in the state’s Racing Rewards breeders’ bonus scheme, which is free to enter for progeny of SA-based mares and stallions. That cap will rise again to nearly AU$3.1 million in 2024-25, Racing SA announced last week.

Scope remains for Morphettville’s four group 1s to become more lucrative, with the March 15 announcement detailing the deal ensuring they will be worth “a minimum” of AU$1 million each during the seven-year partnership with Sportsbet.

Racing SA chief executive Vaughn Lynch told ANZ Bloodstock News the new deal was “fantastic for our industry”.

“It’s a great collaboration between Sportsbet, Racing SA, and the SAJC, and we look forward to delivering a great Adelaide racing carnival,” Lynch said. “We’re committed to ensuring the long-term prosperity of the South Australian industry.”

Lynch said the rises in prize money—enabled by last year’s doubling to 20% of SA racing’s return from the point of consumption tax—and increases to Racing Rewards, reflected Racing SA’s holistic approach to the industry, from farm to track.

“Racing’s an ecosystem, and we’re determined to keep the demand for participation high in South Australian racing, and we understand that will flow onto the breeders,” he said. “We work closely with South Australian breeders, and we make sure our decisions are complementary to their business as well.”