CAMPERDOWN Turf Club president Laurie Hickey says the recent prize money boost to the Camperdown Cup is reinforcement the racing industry thinks Camperdown is on the “right track”.
As reported in last Friday’s Camperdown Chronicle, Racing Victoria announced prize money increases for 67 country cups and other races last month, with Camperdown receiving an extra $15,000 to distribute next year.
The extra funds bring the total prize money for the cup to $45,000 and Hickey said the boost would help attract more attention to the club’s feature race day.
“We’re very, very excited,” he said.
“It means two things – firstly we’ll probably attract a better horse (to the club).
“And (secondly) it’s a good reinforcement for the club that the industry is saying our club is travelling in the right direction.”
The cup has gone from strength-to-strength recently off course, with TAB turnover (on and off track) along with patronage increasing each year according to Hickey.
While he is hopeful this trend continues for the club and attracts more people to Camperdown, Hickey also wants to see more trainers and horses on course.
He said the prize money increase would hopefully have a “flow-on effect” on all the races at the meeting, making for a “better quality of racing” across the day.
“If someone is bringing a cup contender, they might bring another horse too,” Hickey said.
While the cup itself is still six months away, the club has been busy preparing for another bumper racing season.
Off course, Hickey said the club has been conducting internal reviews as a means of continual improvement and a small committee was busy preparing for the Melbourne Cup tour visit to Camperdown on October 13.
The course itself, which Hickey said is highly regarded within the industry, has also received some much needed tough love and care, with track repairs taking place.
Unbeknown to many, a high volume of traffic on the course in the spring and summer period has caused wear and tear to the racing surface.
Hickey said the club hosted eight trials last season (four at the end of the calendar year and four at the start of the new calendar year) on top of their cup meeting and other regular gallops.
Following the last set of trials, the course was closed in April and was cut short (almost dethatched), aerated and reseeded with rye grass.
The track received its first cut since the repairs three weeks ago and Hickey was impressed with the result and is expecting it to be reopened in October.
“The racetrack has been reseeded and has been cut and is looking magnificent,” he said.