Victorian country racing is the big winner following the announcement of an additional $16.5 million in prize money next season.
Of the increases outlined by Racing Victoria on Thursday, more than $11 million will be allocated to country TAB and non-TAB meetings from August 1.
With the exception of 0-58 class events, which rise from $15,000 to $16,000, all country TAB races will be run for a minimum of $20,000, an increase of $5000 on 2014 levels.
Non-TAB races will be boosted from $8000 to $10,000 in the new season.
Greg Carpenter, RV’s executive general manager of racing, said it was imperative the industry supported grassroots racing.
“We have a minimum prize money level for our Listed races of $120,000, so the top end of the market is already well catered for,” Carpenter said.
“What we need to do to make sure the industry is strong going forward is strengthen up the grassroots or bottom up of the whole industry.”
Prominent owner Darren Dance welcomed the increases.
“If our horses can go to the races and win a maiden and a (benchmark) 64 then they will have paid their way for the year,” Dance said.
Trainer Henry Dwyer said making horse ownership more financially viable was a step in the right direction.
“My business revolves around owners,” Dwyer said.
“Any way we can bridge that gap between the inward costs for owners and prize money, that has to be a good thing.”
Prize money for Melbourne’s autumn carnival will receive a $3 million injection but officials are yet to determine how those funds will be allocated.