Caulfield Cup to Become a Weight-for-Age Contest
A pinnacle event of the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC), the Caulfield Cup, is destined for significant changes with plans to convert it to a weight-for-age event.
The Caulfield Cup, which is a key lead-in race for Australia’s most famous race, the Melbourne Cup, has been run as a handicap since 1879. However, the MRC is looking for approval to change the conditions of their race from as early as this year, but more likely from 2018, pending approval from pattern committees.
Weight-for-age means horses carry weight relative to their age and sex, rather than handicap rating so that horses aged five years and over carry 59kg, horses aged four years and over carry 57.5kg and horses aged three and over carry 49.5kg. Fillies and mares carry two kgs less per category.
These changes are expected to reduce the number of horses racing in the event from the traditional 18 horses down to 13 or 14.
In addition, there are plans to change the prizemoney for the race to be in line with Sydney’s highest paying weight-for-age race, the Queen Elizabeth. Bumping the prize pool from $3 million to $4 million will make the Caulfield Cup the second richest race in Victoria. This is expected to attract more overseas runners as it would also exempt the winner from being re-handicapped for the Melbourne Cup race.
“If we’re going to increase international competition, we need to evolve,” Mike Simmons, chairman of the MRC told the Herald Sun.
“The distance [2400m] is internationally recognised as the elite distance for good horses, but almost every other jurisdiction conducts those races at weight-for-age.”
It is believed that Racing Victoria supports the proposed changes; however the MRC has not yet lodged their proposal with the governing body.
March 23, 2017