Racing Victoria has announced that a $2 million boost over four years will be given to jumps racing from 2012 in order to save the sport from dwindling numbers and interest.
The boost will include a feature race worth $100,000 being held each fortnight from the Warrnambool Carnival in May until the end of July.
Prize money will be lifted 26.5 per cent to allow for a purse of $3.2 million over the current 70 races each year.
One of the biggest increases will go to the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase, which will have its prize money raised from $150,000 to $250,000 as of next year.
Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines believes the changes are necessary to rebuild confidence in jumps racing across Australia.
“A supportive government is absolutely essential to the longevity of jumps racing and we have a supportive government,” Hines said.
Just three years ago jumps racing was close to being axed from the Australian sporting agenda, however, Hines is now confident the decision to continue the sport was the right one.
“Three years ago we were concerned about the performance of this sport and the damage to the image of racing in general,” Hines said.
“We had the KPIs (key performance indicators) and we met the KPIs through this period of improving the sport, but their time is done now.”
Other incentives introduced from 2012 will include a minimum prize money increase of 33 per cent to $20,000 and the introduction of a one-time $10,000 bonus to owners when their horse claims its first jumps racing win.