Ask just about any owner or trainer at country or provincial level and they’ll tell you that without their local bonus scheme many in the industry would be forced out.
It’s called a different name in each state and has slight differences in application but effectively the focus is the same, to reward those that race locally bred horses.
In New South Wales it’s called BOBs, a breeders and owners incentive scheme that has a very clear benefit to those involved.
Racing NSW yesterday announced that just under $10 dollars was made out via the scheme to owners last season.
This was a key part of the reason why overall returns to owners jumped from $140.0 million to $145.5 million last year.
“This was driven by the restoration of feature race prizemoney at Royal Randwick and Warwick Farm, as well as an increase in country TAB prizemoney,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said.
In terms of individual horses Rain Affair for Joe Pride benefitted most from BOBs winning six races for a total of $90,000 in bonuses.
Peter Snowden’s Scarf came in second with five wins netting an extra $70,000.
Racing New South Wales are working hard on prize money at the moment, especially now that Racing Victoria has announced a significant boost to their minimum pools.
They are somewhat stuck however thanks to the drawn out High Court case regarding race fields legislation.
Were the court to find in favour of the legislation Racing NSW says they have $150,000 that could almost instantly be used to boost prize money.
“The only people who know when the High Court will hand down its decision are the High Court judges themselves,” V’landys said.
“They will give us 24 to 48 hours notice and we are hoping this will happen before Christmas.”
He says that assuming a favourable decision they would be in a position to make significant changes within just two months.
“I’ve got to emphasise there is a new board coming in, so I can’t pre-empt what will happen. But the current policy is to increase prizemoney where possible,” V’landys said.
“Our aim is to have every metropolitan Saturday race worth a minimum of $100,000 per race.”