Unplaced prize money, record increases to boost NSW picnic racing

NSW picnic race meetings will offer more prize money than ever from September onwards. Photo: Racing Photography.

From September onwards, NSW picnic meetings will carry more prize money than ever and for the first time, all NSW picnic races will offer unplaced prize money to participants.

The Racing NSW and Racing NSW Country subsidised increases will see each picnic race carry a minimum of $7000 in prize money, with horses down to sixth-place paid. 

Importantly, clubs will not be up for any extra money to host these meetings due to an increased Racing NSW Country contribution and increased ambulance subsidy, unless they choose to do so by adding to existing prize money levels, as Lockhart Picnic Races have done ahead of their September 30 meeting. 

Lockhart have increased their Verandah Town Cup to $10,000, meaning they will offer participants $45,000 in total prize money in 2022, a figure which is significantly up on the $32,500 in prize money they were set to offer before recent Racing NSW prize money increases. 

Lockhart Picnic Races President, Will Lane was understandably over the moon with the increases in prize money, indicating it will get more horses, jockeys, and patrons on track.

“I reckon it is fantastic. It is good to increase prize money and it will get more horses and trainers out to Lockhart, especially when we only run once a year,” Lane said. 

“The more trainers and horses we get, the better, and hopefully it leads to better racing and adds to the atmosphere.” 

NSW Picnic Racing Association President, Craig Tyack thanked Racing NSW for implementing the record increases, suggesting it secured the future of picnic racing in NSW. 

“It’s unreal that Racing NSW have involved us in these increases without even talking to us,” Tyack said. 

“They have sent some real money our way and that is a big thing, and it shows everyone that we are a big part of their future. 

“It’s going to get more horses on the track, and more jockeys involved, and it can only be a good thing for racing.”

Racing NSW Country CEO, Brian Charman reiterated that picnic clubs would not be out of pocket following the announcement of record prize money increases for all levels of thoroughbred racing in NSW, and he believes the investment in NSW picnic racing is significant moving forward. 

“Importantly, there are no costs incurred by the clubs due to the recent prize money increase,” Charman confirmed. 

“We have increased prize money from a $5000 minimum to a $7000 minimum, and this is all being subsidised by Racing NSW. 

“These increases to picnic racing prize money are a significant contribution to the industry and the picnic sector.”

Charman used Grenfell Picnic Races as an example of how far picnic prize money has come since 2019, with some clubs now offering participants double.

“To give you an example, Grenfell raced for $20,000 in 2019 and essentially their prize money has increased by 100%,” Charman said. 

“In April 2023, when Grenfell conduct their meeting, they will race for at least $42,000 and that will be subject to them reviewing their prize money and potentially offering even more.”

With the financial future of picnic clubs now seemingly safer than ever, the Racing NSW Country CEO hopes to see committees making further investments into their own futures, whether that be towards infrastructure or race day entertainment.  

“I think the funding model before gave us comfort that the picnic clubs had the ability to conduct their race meetings without financial concerns,” Charman said. 

“What this investment does is allow clubs to offer more prize money, while being able to invest further into the industry, whether that is infrastructure, or adding to the racegoers experience at a picnic meeting.”

Charman also believes the addition of unplaced prize money at NSW picnic meetings will assist trainers battling with the ever-increasing price of fuel. 

“The unplaced prize money, in my opinion, will be well received by participants,” he said.

“Picnic trainers do travel some of these long distances, and they do incur the cost of petrol, which we all know is rising, and this should offer some assistance.”

In addition to these prize money increases, Racing NSW will now offer financial assistance to clubs that are forced to abandon a meeting at the last minute.

For race days that are abandoned, and where the reasons are out of the club’s control, Racing NSW will offer up to $4000 reimbursement.

For all NSW picnic race dates, click here.