Thoroughbred racing is big business in Australia, with over a hundred million dollars in prize money paid out in races annually. Australia's biggest races have prize funds so large that they attract entries from as far afield as the United Kingdom and United States.
Here are Australia's five richest races:
Cox Plate & Caulfield Cup
The Cox Plate is one of Australia's most famous weight for age handicaps, run over a distance of 2000 meters as part of Victoria's Spring Racing Carnival. With a prize fund of $3,000,000 it is Australia's second richest weight for age handicap for middle distance racehorses. The Caulfield Cup, meanwhile, shares the 5th place position in Australia's richest races, and is the country's richest standard handicap race.
The Golden Slipper Stakes
The Golden Slipper Stakes is not just the fourth richest race in Australia, but is also the world's richest race for juveniles. Run at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney, the race takes place over a distance of 1200 meters and pays out a prize fund of $3,500,000. The Golden Slipper Stakes has only been around since 1957 but has been won by some of the greatest racehorses in Australian history, with Vain, Manikato and Capitalist all running out winners in this juvenile sprint before going on to establish themselves as all-time greats.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes (ATC)
The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is Australia's premier middle distance race, and the third richest in Australia, with a $4,000,000 prize fund. Run over a distance of 2000 meters at Randwick Racecourse, the value of this race has increased eight-fold over recent years, having paid out just $500,000 as recently as 2013. However, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes has always attracted top class entries, and set the scene for some of the greatest exploits of the legendary Australian racehorse, Tulloch.
The Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup has been Australia's richest race for decades, and was only recently relegated to second place. This legendary age for weight handicap for stayers pays out $6,200,000 in prize money annually. An entry to the race is surprisingly affordable considering the amount of prize money on offer, with entries costing a touch over $50,000. Only 24 horses are allowed to compete in the race, which means the bulk of the prize fund is derived from external funding sources and not from race participants.
The Everest's $10 million prize fund makes it the world's richest race, placing it in the same league as events like the Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup. The race takes place at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney over a distance of 1200 meters, and is open to 4-year-old and above racehorses. Like the Melbourne Cup The Everest is a weight for age handicap, and is intended to become the world's premier sprint. A single entry to the race costs a whopping $600,000, with entry fees largely funding the race's huge payout.
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