The race which has become a gilt-edged form reference for the Melbourne Cup is in line for an upgrade in status after figuring in a major prizemoney increase.
The Geelong Cup will carry $300,000 in stakes this year – up from $225,000 in 2011.
It’s a lift which the Geelong Racing Club hopes will be recognised when the Australian Pattern Committee meets in the new season.
Won for the last two years by subsequent Melbourne Cup winners Americain and Dunaden, the Geelong Cup carries Group Three status.
“I believe Racing Victoria will be putting forward a case to the committee for the race to be upgraded to a Group Two race,” Geelong chief executive Paul Carroll said.
“Increasing the prizemoney will hopefully help our cause but more importantly the form out of the race presents a strong case.
“Having the last two Geelong Cup winners in Americain and Dunaden go on and win the Melbourne Cup demonstrates the significant elevation in status of our cup.”
Americain and Dunaden followed a path to the Melbourne Cup for international horses first established by the 2002 Geelong Cup winner Media Puzzle.
Media Puzzle needed to win the Geelong Cup to beat the Melbourne Cup ballot as he gave Irish trainer Dermot Weld his second win in Australia’s greatest race.
“The win by Media Puzzle brought the Geelong Cup to the attention of international trainers,” Carroll said.
“I think trainers like to follow a successful route to a particular race and this year we are hoping we might get three to four international runners.
“We believe the prizemoney now on offer is in keeping with it being the key lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup.”
The 2008 Geelong Cup winner Bauer and Crime Scene, unplaced in 2009, also helped boost the international reputation of the race when they ran second in the Melbourne Cup at their next starts.
This year’s Geelong Cup will be run on Wednesday, October 24 – 13 days before the Melbourne Cup.
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