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Vic Change Of Govt Has Warrnambool Thinking International

Thursday, 2nd December 2010

Warrnambool's May carnival (the flagship of Australian jumps racing) "may be about to enter the international era" reported The Herald-Sun. New Racing Minister Denis Napthine is "a passionate supporter of jumps racing & keen to see the famous Grand Annual Steeplechase become an international event". Australian Jumps Racing Association chairman Rodney Rae said the concept "had merit, but prize-money needed a significant boost". The new Coalition Government has pledged $2 million to jumps racing over the next 4 years, but the Grand Annual "would need to at least double its $140,000 prize-money to attract overseas interest". Rae noted: "In the next 10-14 days we need to form recommendations on how the money should be spent. The minister, Racing Victoria, the AJRA & Warrnambool need to get together. Whether all funds are directed to Warrnambool, whether it all goes into prize-money . . . . Warrnambool is our flagship & we need to make it better if it's possible." Rae also noted the May carnival comes "at the end of the European jumps season & we would need to consult people in Europe." Warrnambool Racing Club chairman Margaret Lucas confirmed attracting overseas interest for the carnival "had been discussed", noting: "It's something we have talked about. Whether it's small steps, maybe jockeys for a start." Lucas also said she was "thrilled" to see Napthine in charge of racing, declaring: "Denis Napthine is so supportive of jumps racing, it's got to give it a real fillip." The jumps season is due to start on April 4 at Warrnambool.

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