Port Lincoln Racing Club welcomes prize money increase

PRIZED: Greg Fitzgerald said an increase in prizemoney would help retain thoroughbred trainers and owners in South Australia.
PRIZED: Greg Fitzgerald said an increase in prizemoney would help retain thoroughbred trainers and owners in South Australia.

Port Lincoln Racing Club is set to benefit from an increase in prize money for the upcoming racing season, which will include an additional $4500 for maiden races.

Thoroughbred Racing SA announced last week an additional $5.8 million in prize money would be distributed across thoroughbred racing clubsacross South Australia, with 69 per cent to be for provincial and country races.

From September 1, maiden races at provincial meetings, which include Port Lincoln, will increase from $13,000 to $17,500 while provincial non-maiden races will increase from $15,000 to $20,000.

The Port Lincoln Cup will remain unchanged at $50,000.

Port Lincoln Racing Club president Greg Fitzgerald said there would also be more return for entrants with prize money for horses through to eighth place, instead of the traditional first through fourth.

He said the increases would provide more incentive for thoroughbred owners and trainers to enter races and would help maintain the horse racing population in Port Lincoln.

"While not being able to satisfy everyone's wishes, what they've done with the prize money is spread it as far as they could to provide opportunities for as many as possible in the industry," he said.

"If we can maintain a horse population in Port Lincoln, it will have a flow on effect for other race meetings on Eyre Peninsula...providing racehorses to fill those races on Eyre Peninsula."

The increase follows the state government's racing stimulus announced in the 2019/20 State Budget with the Thoroughbred Racing SA board budgeting for growth from the increased investment in the industry.

Thoroughbred Racing SA chairperson Frances Nelson QC said the stimulus was a critical first step in restoring confidence in the industry and the organisation was taking that to another level with this prize money increase, which was the largest single increase in the last decade.

Mr Fitzgerald said the club was excited for the start of the Port Lincoln racing season, which will begin on Sunday, October 6.