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Vic Change Of Govt Has Warrnambool Thinking International
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.