G1 Championship unveiled

A brush with greatness awaits Australasian racing participants from 2013 after Racing Victoria (RV) today unveiled an exciting and lucrative event known as the G1 Championship.

To be held in late summer/early autumn during the Melbourne Festival of Racing, the $5.5 million Championship will become a focal point for Victorian racing outside the Spring Racing Carnival.

Four big meetings and six classic races define the G1 Championship, which is designed to stimulate greater public interest, whilst offering a life changing opportunity for participants.

It will showcase the sport’s elite sprinters and middle distance performers across two series, with lucrative bonuses on offer for those connections who can claim a unique place in racing history.

Each G1 Championship comprises three legs and offers a lucrative TAB $1 million bonus to any horse that can win all three races, culminating at Flemington on Super Saturday.

There are no field size restrictions on the cash bonuses which will be split as follows – 70% to the owner, 20% trainer and 10% jockey.

The races showcased within the 2013 G1 Championship are as follows;

SPRINTERS G1 CHAMPIONSHIP

LEG 1 – $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) – Flemington, 16 February 2013

LEG 2 – $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) – Caulfield, 23 February 2013

FINAL – $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) – Flemington, 9 March 2013

MIDDLE DISTANCE G1 CHAMPIONSHIP

LEG 1 – $400,000 Sportingbet C.F.Orr Stakes (1400m) – Caulfield, 9 February 2013

LEG 2 – $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) – Caulfield, 23 February 2013

FINAL – $1 million Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) – Flemington, 9 March 2013

Points will be allocated to the first five placegetters across each G1 Championship race on 12-6-4-2-1 basis. Should the TAB $1 million bonus not be won, the highest points scorer in each series will be awarded a $50,000 international travel subsidy to showcase their talents abroad during 2013.

“We’re excited to launch the G1 Championship and we’re looking forward to developing the concept over coming years into one that captures the interest and imagination of the community and participants alike,” RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said.

“For our sport to maintain community relevance we must continue to reach out and stimulate the public’s imagination and we’re excited to do that with the G1 Championship.

“The G1 Championship provides an outstanding opportunity for racing to re-engage with our fans, and create a focal point to command their attention, outside of the Spring Racing Carnival.

“The G1 Championship takes inspiration from American racing’s famous Triple Crown and we’re issuing the challenge to Australasia’s elite sprinters and middle distance performers to create a unique place in history.

“The inaugural G1 Championship provides a platform for growth and over the coming years we expect that it will only grow in profile and help to shape trainers’ and owners’ programming decisions.”

Saundry said the G1 Championship adds greater prestige to the races showcased within whilst providing a further incentive for owners and trainers to compete over the Melbourne Festival of Racing.

“The TAB $1 million bonuses are a wonderful incentive to take up the G1 challenge and each bonus will be shared amongst the owners, trainer and jockey, all of whom can define their careers with success in the G1 Championship,” Saundry said.

“The Melbourne Festival of Racing is renowned as a launch pad for Australian horses to compete abroad. The international travel subsidy for the top point scorer in each G1 Championship presents an opportunity for our horses to test themselves on the world stage and continue that tradition,” he added.

The on-course experience for fans will be a focal point of the concept too with each G1 Championship meeting to feature a G1 Lounge Enclosure.

Situated amongst the action, the marquee and outdoor lounge setting will encourage fans to dress more casually, in a style more appropriate for the weather conditions.

“Together with the host Clubs, our focus is on creating meetings that are a destination for fans and that’s why we’ll be introducing the G1 Lounge Enclosure as part of the G1 Championship,” Saundry said.

“Early in the New Year further details will be released around the G1 Lounge Enclosure, in which the public can take in the action in a stylish, yet relaxed environment for less than $100,” Saundry said.