The push by the Geelong Racing Club to have their flagship race, the Geelong Cup, lifted to Group 2 level has been boosted with the announcement that this year’s Cup will be worth $300,000.
The increase in prizemoney to this year’s Group 3 Centrebet Geelong Cup over 2400m on October 24 to $300,000 plus trophies will guarantee another top class field with many local and overseas trainers using it as a final lead up to the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6.
The Geelong Cup has played a prominent part in the lead up of the last two Melbourne Cup winners, Americain and Dunaden after the French trained stayers both took out the country cup before appearing at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
Geelong Racing Cup chief Paul Carroll is confident the prizemoney increase will keep attracting the big Spring names for the coming years, particularly the overseas visitors.
“Having our last two Geelong Cup winners, in Americain and Dunaden, go on and win the Melbourne Cup demonstrates the significant elevation in status of our Cup,” Carroll said.
“We believe the prizemoney now on offer is in keeping with it being the key lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup and now gives the ever increasing number of international horses further incentive to contest the event.”
“Our biggest asset is the timing of the cup. About two weeks before the Melbourne Cup is great timing, and that is our biggest asset.”
“There is no doubt there is interest in the Geelong Cup from the international trainers.”
A placing in the Geelong Cup satisfies the qualifying conditions for the ‘Race that stops the Nation’ and has been used as the final lead up races for 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain and last year’s winner Dunaden.
French trainer Alain De Royer Dupre used the Geelong Cup win of Americain as his only Australian start before taking out the 2010 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
And Mikel Delzangles followed the same pattern with Craig Williams winning the Geelong Cup on Dunaden before Christophe Lemaire took out last year’s Melbourne Cup on the French galloper .
The significance of the Geelong Cup came to prominence when Media Puzzle with Damien Oliver on board won in 2002 before going on to win the Melbourne Cup for top Irish trainer Dermot Weld in a memorable victory that left the nation mesmerised .
“Since Media Puzzle won the race, we think the form to come from the race has been great,” Carroll said.
“The Geelong Cup form has stood up in other races, too. Last year Tanby went on and won the Bendigo Cup.”
“In 2006 and 2007 are the only years we have really missed. A lot of people like to follow the tried and true method.”
“And over the years the tried and true method is the Geelong Cup before going to the Melbourne Cup.”
And Luca Cumani’s Bauer took out the 2008 Geelong Cup with Damien Oliver aboard before going on to be beaten a nose by the Bart Cummings trained Viewed, giving the Cups King his twelve Melbourne Cup victory.
The Geelong Cup increases coincides with increases in prizemoney for the Listed Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m) on October 31, which is up twenty-five per cent to $200,000 and the Listed Sportsbet.com.au Ballarat Cup (2200m) on November 25 up by thirty-three per cent to $200,000.