THE BIG DANCE

The Kris Lees-trained Rustic Steele won the inaugural Big Dance for jockey Nash Rawiller in 2022.

In 2022, Racing NSW confirmed the inaugural $3 million Big Dance at Royal Randwick, which will be run and won on the first Tuesday in November, with the meeting now known as Big Dance Day.

A $750,000 race was added to Big Dance Day, called the Little Dance, for those horses eligible but unable to gain a start in the Big Dance.

2023/24 BIG DANCE

In 2023/24, 28 Country Cups from across various regions of NSW will be used as qualifying races for the race, with the final field for the Big Dance drawn from the winners and second-placed horses of these designated Country Cups. The 2024 final will be run on November 5.

A Big Dance Wild Card race will also be run at Royal Randwick on October 19, with the winner and second-placed horse from the Wild Card becoming eligible for the Big Dance and, significantly, exempt from the ballot.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

In 2022, Rustic Steele, for trainer Kris Lees and jockey Nash Rawiller, won he inaugral The Big Dance, beating the Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained and Tyler Schiller-ridden ridden Cisco Bay in second and the Annabel Neasham-trained and Chad Schofield-ridden Sibaaq in third.

In 2023, the Sara Ryan-trained Attractable was ridden to victory by Regan Bayliss, defeating the Matthew Dunn-trained, Nash Rawiller-ridden Cepheus in second and the Barbara Jones, Paul and Matt Jones-trained, Andrew Adkins-ridden Super Helpful in third.

BIG DANCE HONOUR ROLL

YearWinnerJockeyTrainerRegionPrice
2023ATTRACTABLERegan BaylissSara RyanProvincial$19
2022RUSTIC STEELENash RawillerKris LeesMetropolitan$12

LITTLE DANCE HONOUR ROLLra

YearWinnerJockeyTrainerRegionPrice
2023SPANGLERTommy BerryKris LeesMetropolitan$7.50
2022DREAM RUNNERTyler SchillerKeith DrydenCountry$11

BIG DANCE CONDITIONS

1. Race Conditions 

Distance: 1600m.

Age: Three years and up Quality Handicap.

Weight Scale: Maximum weight 62kg. 

Field Limit: 20 Starters plus 4 emergencies.

2. Prizemoney 

Of $2,000,000 and Trophies. First Horse $1,050,000 and Trophies; Second Horse $400,000; Third Horse $200,000 Fourth Horse $100,000 Fifth Horse $50,000 Sixth Horse $40,000 Seventh Horse $30,000; Eighth Horse $30,000; Ninth Horse $30,000; Tenth Horse $30,000; $20,000 Equine Welfare Fund Contribution, $20,000 Jockey Welfare Fund Contribution. 

3. Eligibility 

The official winners and second placed horses of qualifying races.

Horses may contest multiple qualifying races and are not restricted from contesting these races by virtue of winning an earlier qualifying race. 

At its absolute discretion, Racing NSW may eliminate, add, or substitute qualifying races or conditions. 

4. Big Dance Wild Card 

The Big Dance Wild Card race will be run over 1600m at Royal Randwick on Saturday 21 October 2023 as an Open Handicap. 

The Big Dance Wild Card race will be open to any horse that has contested one of the qualifying races, without winning a qualifying race. 

The first and second placed horses from the race will qualify for the Big Dance. 

5. Order of Entry and Ballot Conditions 

The first and second placed horses from the Big Dance Wild Card will be exempt from ballot. 

Should it become necessary to reduce the number of acceptors to determine the final field and emergencies, the excess horses shall be eliminated: 

·  Commencing with the second placed horses from the qualifying races that have not otherwise won another of the qualifying races; then 

·  The lowest NSW Benchmark Handicap Rating at final acceptances shall be the first eliminated, this procedure will continue until the field limit is reached; 

·  If benchmarks are equal, the place in the field will selected by the Racing NSW Handicapping Panel. 

6. Nomination and Acceptance 

Horses will automatically be nominated based the results of qualifying races.

7. Weight Allowances

· A true weight allowance may be claimed down to 52kg.
· Apprentice Jockey Allowances
· Apprentice jockeys cannot claim.

8. Racing NSW the Sole Judge of Eligibility 

Racing NSW will be the sole judge to determine eligibility to compete in The Big Dance. Further, Racing NSW may change any condition, term, or other factor relating to the Big Dance at any stage, in its absolute discretion. 

Racing NSW reserves the right to cancel the race, in its absolute discretion. 

For further information, contact Scott Kennedy at Racing NSW on 9551 7579 (skennedy@racingnsw.com.au), Ben Dunn on 9551 7664 (bdunn@racingnsw.com.au) or Sam Reed on 9551 7661 (sreed@racingnsw.com.au).

9. Race dates

The 28 eligible Country Cup races are as follows: 

Goulburn Cup1400m30 October 2022
Snake Gully Cup (Gundagai)1400m11 November 2022
Taree Cup2000m20 November 2022
Mudgee Cup1600m2 December 2022
Nowra Cup1600m4 December 2022
Armidale Cup1900m11 December 2022
Coonabarabran Cup1600m23 December 2022
Moruya Cup1425m2 January 2023
Ballina Cup1590m13 January 2023
Bega Cup (Sapphire Coast)1600m29 January 2023
Albury Gold Cup2000m24 March 2023
Wellington Cup1700m26 March 2023
Muswellbrook Gold Cup1500m31 March 2023
Orange Gold Cup2000m15 April 2023
Tamworth Cup1400m22 April 2023
Wagga Wagga Gold Cup2000m5 May 2023
Scone Cup1600m12 May 2023
Gunnedah Cup1600m28 May 2023
South Grafton Cup1600m9 July 2023
Narrandera Cup1600m23 July 2023
Coffs Harbour Cup1600m3 August 2023
Forbes Cup1600m6 August 2023
Murwillumbah Cup1550m25 August 2023
Dubbo Gold Cup1600m17 September 2023
Lismore Cup2100m21 September 2023
Bathurst Cup1800m24 September 2023
Port Macquarie Cup2000m6 October 2023
Coonamble Cup1600m8 October 2023
Wild Card (Randwick)1600m14 October 2023

To be eligible for the Big Dance, horses must be the official winners or second placed horse in any of the races listed above.