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Six marquee races break million-dollar barrier


Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister for Racing


Embargoed until 7.15pm, 15 August 2008
Media statement

Six marquee races break million-dollar barrier

Six New Zealand thoroughbred races will offer seven-figure stakes this season, Racing Minister Winston Peters announced tonight.

“This year's Budget contained a $9 million, three-year scheme to significantly lift prize money for key New Zealand races,” Mr Peters told the Mercedes Thoroughbred Awards dinner in Hamilton.

“This initiative is designed to help our clubs compete with money on offer overseas; to encourage greater bloodstock investment in New Zealand, and to help ensure our best horses stay in the country.

“As a result, four top thoroughbred races will this season join the Kelt Capital Stakes ($2 million) and Karaka Million ($1 million) in offering stakes of $1 million or more.

“Leading the way will be the $2.2 million New Zealand Derby, while the Auckland Cup, the Telegraph and the 2000 Guineas will all carry stakes of $1 million.

“High stakes races will attract top contestants from Australia and further afield. That in turn will raise our international profile, and capture the New Zealand public’s imagination.

“Big-money races are the bedrock around which highly successful racing carnivals can be built, bringing proven economic benefit not just to the industry, but to the economy as a whole, and local communities in particular.

"This is an exciting time for racing, and the challenge now is for the industry and sponsors to build on a raft of recent initiatives to ensure that New Zealand racing begins to fulfill its considerable economic potential.

“If we can move forward in this spirit, there is no reason why more marquee races cannot break the $1 million barrier, and really set New Zealand’s racing scene alight,” Mr Peters said.


ENDS

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