The Australian Turf Club (ATC) is out to give Melbourne racing a run for their money in the staying ranks introducing a new bonus scheme involving the Sydney Cup 2018 next autumn.


The Metropolitan winner Foundry is the first stayer eligible for the new Sydney Cup 2018 bonus. Photo: Steve Hart.

Outside of Flemington’s iconic Group 1 $6.2 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November in Victoria, staying races down under have long been straining to keep up both prizemoney wise and in the class of competitors they attract.

Controversially excluding any Melbourne events, the ATC have announced a bonus series of staying races from cities around the country and in New Zealand.

Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and across the Tasman in Auckland will all be host to races that the winners of which will be eligible for bonuses should they finish first three in the Group 1 $2 million Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 14, 2018.

“Owners and trainers who prepare the winner or placegetters in several key staying races across Australia and New Zealand will be eligible for the Sydney Cup bonus,” the ATC stated in a press release.

“Owners will receive a total $100,000 bonus and the trainer a total $50,000 bonus if their horse goes on to win or place in the 2018 Schweppes Sydney Cup after having won or placed in these designated staying races.”

The designated races are as follows:

  • Sydney’s Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on September 30, 2017;
  • Perth’s Group 2 $250,000 Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot Racecourse on Monday January 1, 2018;
  • Auckland’s Group 1 NZ$500,000 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie Racecourse (NZ) on Saturday March 10, 2018;
  • Adelaide’s Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville Racecourse on Monday March 12, 2018; and
  • Sydney’s Group 3 $150,000 N.E. Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday March 24, 2018.

The aim of the new initiative is to attract the country’s best staying types to the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and hopefully too also draw international interest to the Sydney Cup.

“The Schweppes Sydney Cup is recognised as a race that welcomes stayers from many pathways across the nation and the ATC is committed to continually raising its profile,” ATC Chairman Laurie Macri said.

“We want to promote this $2 million race as one which features a contest between in-form horses from around Australia as well as internationally, and acts as the staying championship of the Sydney Autumn Carnival.”

The only one of the eligible lead-up races already run and won is The Metropolitan, the trifecta from this September led by Foundry who defeated Big Duke and Chocante.

The Perth Cup meanwhile is next-up, stealing the show in W.A. on New Year’s Eve, futures betting at led by Trap For Fools who made it six wins on the trot in Wednesday’s Listed $100,000 A.T.A. Stakes (2200m) at Ascot.