Racing New South Wales chairman John Messara is confident that The Championships can put Sydney racing on the world scene and give New South Wales a carnival befitting its status as one of the biggest racing jurisdictions in the world.
The concept for The Championships, that includes eight Group 1 races over two days during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, was released by Racing New South Wales, the Australian Turf Club and the New South Wales State government yesterday and has received mixed reviews from the Australian horse racing public.
Messara told RSN that something needed to be done to fix the Sydney Autumn Carnival, which has lagged behind the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in recent years, and said that he is hopeful that The Championships will come to be known as one of the best racing carnivals in the entire world.
“We have had a very weak autumn carnival for some time and there was a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the world,” Messara said on Racing Ahead.
“We have had to make a big jump and we have made that jump, which will give Australia a fantastic spring in Victoria and a wonderful autumn in Sydney.
“New South Wales is a major racing jurisdiction, it is about thirty or forty percent bigger than Victoria, and it is the breeding centre of Australia and it needed a Carnival befitting all of that.
“We want to get on the world scene, we are not on the world scene, and this is going to allow us to do so.”
Major races like the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), the Doncaster Handicap (1600m), the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and the Australian Derby (2400m) have all received significant prizemoney increases; with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes now the richest race in New South Wales and the richest 2000 metre turf race in the world.
Messara said that Racing New South Wales put a great deal of thought into which races would receive prizemoney upgrades, and be included as part of The Championships, and believes that they made the right decision.
“We have selected ten existing races and we are not inventing new races,” Messara said.
“These races are quiet famous races in their own right and we thought hard and long about the program and the pattern.
“We are satisfied that menu of races, with those funds allotted to them, are going to give us something quiet memorable and something that is long-lasting.”
The Championships will be held at Royal Randwick on Saturday April 12 and Easter Saturday April 19 in 2014.