Racing Victoria has with fire a barrage of fire coming from the north of the Murray and fought back strongly to try and protect the Spring Racing Carnival.
Led by CEO Peter V'landys, Racing NSW made a bold bid to move in the Spring Carnival – a period in the calendar previously owned by Victoria.
Big money races headlined by the $ 14 million Everest and $ 7.5m Golden Eagle have been introduced to not only invigorate local wagering at a key time of year, but also lure equine stars and headline jockeys to Sydney on days they'd previously have defaulted to Melbourne .
Having held fire for a number of months, RV finally delivered its retaliation on Thursday and it was a strategic play clearly designed to offset the carrots dangled by Racing NSW.
With lucrative racing in both Sydney and Melbourne on key spring dates, the jockey pool is likely to be split but RV has a bold bid to attract Australia's star hoops by dangling a series of lucrative cash prizes for the best-performing jockeys on feature race days.
The motivation behind the newly announced 'Star Of The Saddle' looks obvious.
The five dates that jockeys will race for the cash prizes – Turnbull Stakes Day, Caulfield Guineas Day, Caulfield Cup Day, Cox Plate Day and Derby Day – clash with Sydney's five biggest spring meetings.
The glaring omissions are Melbourne Cup Day and Stakes Day, where the prizemoney down south dwarfs what's on offer in Sydney.
A key three-year-old race on Derby Day has received a huge boost and it seems a direct response to the recently announced Bondi Stakes to be run at Randwick on Cox Plate Day.
The Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) has not only received a prize money boost from $ 300,000 to $ 500,000, it will also have a $ 1m bonus for any horse that simply contests two of the key three-year-old features and goes on and wins the Carbine Club Stakes.
To be eligible for the bonus, a horse will need to contest either the Stutt Stakes, Caulfield Guineas Prelude or Thousand Guineas Prelude AND the Caulfield Guineas or Thousand Guineas.
The bonus not only creates an incentive for quality three-year-olds to campaign down south for the entire spring, it also makes the Carbine Club Stakes a richer option than the Bondi Stakes to run a week earlier under the same conditions.
On top of these two cleverly created incentives, there are a range of bonuses and prizemoney increases that tip the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival over $ 100m, and that's on top of the $ 45m on offer in NSW.
The Valley has announced that 13 races across the calendar will provide a $ 1m bonus to the winner if they can go on to win Australia's WFA Championship.
It is a carrot no doubt in part designed for prospective Golden Eagle contenders who would race for the same first prize money. And that's before the owner of a colt or filly considering the increase in value that comes with winning a Group 1 as opposed to a race carrying no status.
Many have been critical of the brazen approach V'landys has been used to encroach on the previously sacred Spring Carnival, but I'm steadfast in the belief that competition enhances any industry and Australian racing is now the envy of many around the world.
Australian racing is in far better health than many jurisdictions around the world; continued prizemoney growth and a diverse ownership base plays a large part in that.
However, there is one participant who has made this prizemoney possible and based on a recent commentary, the major funder of the industry is feeling left out in the cold.
No matter how you skin it, punters have funded this increase and all major increases that have seen a prizemoney skyrocket in recent years.
In the face of rising market percentages, burdened by the impact of new taxes and tempted by the lure of more attractively priced sports betting markets, one hopes the next play the industry makes is more attractive to its key funding source.
Owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys are the key beneficiaries or record prizemoney levels but I urge them to consider what made the increases possible and join the growing lobby to see a fairer wagering landscape.
Racing in Australia is flying, but its continued success hinges on the punter – it's time to shine a light on this key industry participant.
(tagsToTranslate) racing.com (t) Racing Victoria (t) Racing NSW (t) Peter V & # 39; landys (t) Spring Carnival