The overseas racehorses involved in The Championships this year promise to help fast-track the Sydney autumn racing carnival to proper international status, Racing NSW chairman John Messara says.
Speaking at Tuesday’s launch of a restructured autumn featuring the Golden Slipper at Rosehill and two days of racing at Randwick worth $10 million, Messara says the international raiders will pique global interest in Sydney racing.
“This year we are very lucky because we’ve got six international horses including four from Japan which is a real coup,” Messara said.
“They are all top horses and we are going to be able to measure ourselves against all the internationals.
“This will create enormous interest internationally and that’s very important in terms of getting more horses in the future.”
Messara wants The Championships to be a focal point of world racing and he urged the Australian thoroughbred industry to embrace overseas competition.
“If we are going to make claim to (The Championships) being a global meet then we’ve got to stand up and meet those horses, invite them here and see if we can’t knock them off ourselves,” he said.
“That’s the way it’s got to be. It’s all for the better because this way we will find out if we have got weaknesses in our ranks … and whether in fact, categorically, the international-trained horse is far better than ours.”
Confirmation that Canterbury racetrack has been given federal government approval to be used as a quarantine training and stabling area for overseas horses is certain to boost future efforts to attract the best racehorses in the world.
The Japanese quartet will be the first to use Canterbury and Messara insists they will provide formidable competition during The Championships.
“Of the four Japanese horses, one of them (To The World) was the champion three-year-old horse of Japan,” Messara said.
“To date, the Japanese horses who have competed here have not been anywhere near that ranking.”
To The World, the winner of four races and twice placed at Group One level, is prominent in Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting behind the favourite, Cox Plate winner Adelaide.