A total of $770,000 in prize money will be on offer at Bendigo Racecourse’s inaugural Premier Saturday Meeting next March.
The race meet will feature the 1,600 metre Golden Mile, which will move from its current spring racing carnival timeslot and double in prize money to $125,000.
Eight other races will also be run as part of next year’s Golden Mile Raceday, including the Bendigo Guineas for three-year-olds that will offer $90,000 in prize money plus $80,000 worth of bonuses.
Racing Victoria (RV) chief executive Rob Hines announced the stand alone meeting with the support of Country Racing Victoria (CRV) and the Bendigo Jockey Club (BJC).
“With prize money and bonuses totalling $770,000 we believe the quality of racing will be exceptional and befitting the important spot that the Golden Mile Raceday now holds on the Victorian racing calendar as a Premier Saturday Meeting,” Mr Hines said.
“The program has been developed with an eye to the future and we believe it has the scope to grow in conjunction with the meeting which has been guaranteed a place within the Melbourne Festival of Racing for at least the next three years.
“The Golden Mile Raceday will be the centrepiece of a weekend showcasing the many attractions of the City of Greater Bendigo and we are confident that this program of races and the prize money on offer will make it an outstanding event.”
BJC chief executive Ian Hart believes the new race day will generate a large amount of interest.
“The stature of the Golden Mile feature race, together with the Bendigo Guineas and Golden Bracelet give the meeting a number of key races that are sure to attract a great deal of interest from leading stables,” Mr Hart said.
“We are hopeful that over time these events will develop to the point where black type status will be a realistic goal.
“It will be our objective to increase prize money for all races on this day in future years and continue to build momentum for the meeting to be recognised as a must do event on the annual racing calendar.
“Our planning is progressing well for the meeting and we hope that trainers, both local and abroad, can start to consider the Golden Mile Raceday as part of their autumn plans.”
CRV chief executive Scott Whiteman is thrilled that country racing will be showcased to the rest of Australia.
“Bendigo’s Golden Mile Raceday will be a great boost for the club and will provide an economic benefit for local community with an expectation of an increase of visitors to the City of Greater Bendigo from metropolitan Melbourne and from other regional locations around Victoria,” Mr Whiteman said.
“The team at the Bendigo Jockey Club have been proactive in getting started on developing a strategy for the event with CRV to ensure that the meeting is a huge success and can create a pathway for other clubs to follow in the future.”
Next year’s Golden Mile Raceday will also feature the $90,000 Bendigo Gold Bracelet for fillies and mares and the $50,000 Bendigo Golden Nursery for two-year-olds.