Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) to consider prizemoney increase for Wagga Gold Cup

JEWEL IN THE CROWN: Stampede, with Rachel King in the saddle, takes out this year's $150,000 Wagga Gold Cup. Picture: Les Smith
JEWEL IN THE CROWN: Stampede, with Rachel King in the saddle, takes out this year's $150,000 Wagga Gold Cup. Picture: Les Smith

MURRUMBIDGEE Turf Club (MTC) will consider increasing prizemoney for next year’s Wagga Gold Cup to keep it as the jewel in the crown.

It has been a big week for the MTC with Racing NSW announcing significant prizemoney increases for the Wagga Town Plate and supporting races over the carnival.

Racing NSW have increased the Town Plate to $150,000, a move that puts it alongside the listed Wagga Gold Cup as MTC’s richest race.

It has also awarded ‘country showcase’ status to the Town Plate and Gold Cup meetings, meaning a minimum of $30,000 for each race on both days.

The injection of funds suddenly puts the Town Plate on level footing with the Gold Cup.

MTC have made a number of increases to carnival prizemoney in recent years and the board will soon decide whether it continues that trend.

“We probably need a bit of time to process the prizemoney increases that have been announced this week and then work on a plan going forward,” MTC chief executive Scott Sanbrook said.

Sanbrook said consideration will be given to increasing Cup prizemoney.

“Obviously the Wagga Cup has been the jewel in the crown since the club started so it would be logical to think that’s the way we want to keep it,” he said.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be the richest race but in saying that, we will give a lot of consideration to whether we’ll add more prizemoney to the race to give it that point of difference.

“At this stage we’re just thinking how lucky we are to have two races that are worth that amount of prizemoney.”

Sanbrook expects this week’s increases to attract even higher quality horses, jockeys and trainers to Wagga for the Cup carnival.

“It is going to put the carnival on the radar of trainers who have the better class sprinters,” he said.

“For a long time, leading stables have earmarked the Cup for their stayers, but not necessarily looked at the Town Plate. Now we’ll have the best of both worlds.

“It’s testament to the work put in over the last five years. We’ve put a lot of effort into the Town Plate and we’ve now been rewarded for that.”

Meantime, MTC have again been named a finalist for Country TAB Race Club of the Year at the 2017 Country and Provincial Racing Awards.