World’s richest turf contest hikes prize money

Patrons pose for a photograph in front of a bronze statue of Cup Winning horse Makybe Diva ahead of Australia’s premier horse race, the 157th Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on Nov. 7, 2017. (AFP/Paul Crock)
Updated 07 November 2017

World’s richest turf contest hikes prize money

SYDNEY: The world’s richest turf race will boost its prize money to Aus$13 million ($10 million), organizers said in a cheeky full-page newspaper ad placed on the day of its rival Melbourne Cup.
The inaugural Aus$10 million Everest race, initiated by Racing New South Wales, took place at Sydney’s Royal Randwick last month, irking powerbrokers in the state of Victoria as it clashed with the start of top racing in Melbourne.
Rivalries look set to escalate with the timing of the announcement diverting attention from Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup — known as “the race that stops a nation.”
The advert in The Australian said prize money in 2018 would jump by Aus$3.0 million, while noting the Melbourne Cup only offered Aus$6.2 million.
“The world’s richest turf race is not in Melbourne today,” it said.
“It’s in Sydney at Royal Randwick.”
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys played down tensions with Racing Victoria, saying The Everest had filled a void in the Sydney racing calendar.
“Naturally we are in awe of the Melbourne Cup and its success,” he told the newspaper. “Sydney, however, needs its own event.
“The Everest is that event. In its first year, it exceeded all expectations and the race has already established its own personality and charisma.”
The inaugural Everest, over 1200 meters (3/4 mile or six furlongs), was won by five-year-old Redzel with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle.
The newspaper said the Everest jackpot would rise further to Aus$14 million in 2019 and Aus$15 million in 2020, meaning the winning horse will likely take home more than the entire prize pool for the Melbourne Cup.
The Dubai World Cup and newly-introduced Pegasus World Cup in the United States currently carry more prize money, but they are raced on dirt.
Despite the lure of so much cash, the Everest failed to attract any overseas entrants this year, controversially clashing with the start of Melbourne’s Spring Carnival.
In contrast, this year’s Melbourne Cup has drawn a record-equalling 11 European horses to the field, including six Irish-trained hopefuls.

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

Updated 03 June 2020

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

  • Restart to begin with 2 matches on June 17, to ensure every side played same number of games

LONDON: The Premier League's return is just two weeks away but there are plenty of details for the 20 clubs in the English top-flight to work out before competitive action resumes on June 17.

AFP Sport looks at what is on the agenda at the latest in a series of meetings between the clubs on Thursday.

There have been squabbles over how final league standings should be decided if the season cannot be completed but clubs need a contingency arrangement if a spike in coronavirus cases wrecks their plans.

Most of the teams in the bottom half of the table are reportedly pushing for relegation to be scrapped if the season is not completed on the field.

That still seems highly unlikely, with the English Football Association and English Football League both insisting on promotion and relegation throughout the pyramid.

A points-per-game formula is the most likely option and is part of the reason why the restart will begin with two matches on June 17, to ensure every side has played the same number of games.

Once the two outstanding games — Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United — have been played, all 20 sides will have nine games remaining.

No dates for other matches have yet been released, but fixtures are expected to continue from where they left off in March and be crammed into just five weeks ahead of the FA Cup final on August 1.

A long layoff, little time together in contact training and a gruelling schedule mean players' bodies will be pushed to the limits.

In an attempt to minimize injuries and fatigue, world governing body FIFA has allowed leagues to temporarily change their rules to allow five substitutes.

Chelsea have also reportedly proposed increasing the number of substitutes available from seven to nine.

However, critics have suggested those changes will simply play into the hands of the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

Premier League clubs appear to have won their battle to have games played in their own grounds rather than on neutral sites.

However, the UK's national lead for football policing confirmed last week that a "small number" of fixtures will take place at neutral venues.

That is likely to include any match that could see Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, to try and avoid crowds gathering at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by playing at neutral venues, with results from four rounds of Germany's Bundesliga showing no advantage for home sides in a closed-doors environment.

"We will not have the help from the crowd but no team will have that, so where is the advantage?" Klopp told the BBC.

"Whoever we play it is the same situation, which is why I'm not too worried about it."

The use of VAR could also be dispensed with for the rest of the season should the clubs wish to further cut the number of people required for games to go ahead.

However, the Premier League's CEO Richard Masters is keen for it to remain.

"VAR has its own social-distancing issues, but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR," Masters told Sky Sports.