Spring bonuses to boost Melbourne Cup Carnival

26 July 2022 Written by VRC

The Melbourne Cup Carnival’s position as Australia’s grand final of racing has been bolstered by a series of $1 million bonuses connected to several of its Group 1 races.

Racing Victoria (RV) this afternoon announced five bonuses for the Spring Racing Carnival, four of which lead into Melbourne Cup Carnival features: the $2 million Group 1 Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) and the $1 million Group 1 TAB Empire Rose Stakes (1600m), both run on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 29 October; and both the $3 million Group 1 VRC Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) and the $3 million Group 1 VRC Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m), which – along with the $3 million Group 1 VRC Champions Stakes (2000m) – headline VRC Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 5 November.   

This will complement the new-look Melbourne Cup Carnival, which offers almost $30 million in prizemoney across all four days. 

A $1 million incentive was first offered last year for the $1 million TAB Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) for fillies and mares, with the winners of 12 races across Australia and New Zealand eligible for the extra bonus on top of the $600,000 winners’ cheque. The James Cummings-trained Colette, victorious in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) before taking the Derby Day feature, took home $1.6 million for her success. 

The Empire Rose Stakes bonus will continue into 2022 with three horses – Sydney’s Group 1 Queen Of The Turf (1600m) winner Nimalee, Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) victor Imperatriz and Startantes, successful in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) in Brisbane – already qualified. 

This year, the $2 million Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) for three-year-old stayers will also offer a bonus with the winners of the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m), Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) and Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) all eligible.  

Should any horse win one of those lead-up races and then the Penfolds Victoria Derby on the first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, they will earn $2.2 million in total. 

The $3 million VRC Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) and the $3 million VRC Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m) will respectively bring the best sprinters and milers together for a thrilling conclusion to the Melbourne Cup Carnival on VRC Champions Stakes Day.  

The winners of five sprints throughout September and October – the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m), the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) – will be eligible for a $1 million bonus should they also win the VRC Darley Champions Sprint.  

However, that is conditional on their participation in the Manikato Stakes, with horses required to contest the October 21 feature at Moonee Valley to claim the added reward. 

The VRC Kennedy Champions Mile $1 million bonus will be awarded to any horse that can win the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) or the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) before striking success on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. 

Should either bonus be claimed on November 5, the winning horse will earn $2.8 million. 

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich welcomed the announcement from Racing Victoria. 

“All roads lead to the Melbourne Cup Carnival and these four bonuses will ensure that we get the best horses, trainers and jockeys at Flemington for Australia’s biggest and most anticipated racing carnival,” Mr Rosich said.  

“There are plenty of opportunities for horses to become eligible for bonuses for the Penfolds Victoria Derby, TAB Empire Rose Stakes, VRC Darley Champions Sprint and VRC Kennedy Champions Mile. The prospect of racing for an enhanced prize will add another element of excitement and intrigue to what is already the world’s leading racing event. 

“Spring is in the air and we are gearing up for a glorious Melbourne Cup Carnival, with another milestone coming next Tuesday with the unveiling of entries for the 2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup.”  

The Melbourne Cup Carnival begins with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 29 October with Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 1 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 3 November and VRC Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 5 November. Tickets for the Melbourne Cup Carnival are now on sale.

Caption: Colette claimed a $1 million bonus for completing the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 TAB Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) double last year.