THE Bathurst Cup could become an integral piece of Racing NSW's new $2,000,000 event, The Big Dance, which is set to be run for the first time this season on Melbourne Cup day at Royal Randwick.
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The Big Dance will be open only to those who have competed in one of 25 country cup events from across the state, bringing a field together to race over a mile on November 1 this year.
It remains to be seen whether Tyers Park's Bathurst Cup will be part of the 25 races that make up the qualifying events - that list is yet to be released - but the announcement of the new series has been welcomed by the Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing Committee.
Bathurst racing manager Michelle Tarpenning said the introduction of the race will be a welcome boost for country tracks.
"Winners of the cups would go into a draw to be included in this new race at Randwick, so it's a pretty cool initiative. The 25 clubs haven't been named yet but we'll hopefully be in contention for that," she said.
"It's a great initiative for country trainers because it allows them to be in a prestigious race. It's engaging the local community as well through accommodation and restaurants, and it's a concept that's been well received.
"The race will be run over a mile so our Bathurst Cup, at 1,800m, would be the best fit.
"Racing NSW have been great at giving back to country and provincial trainers and participants. It's exciting because it's bringing people into country racing and ... it will help with local tourism.
"It's great prizemoney, at $2 million. It's giving back to industry participants."
The news from Racing NSW also came with the announcement of prizemoney increases across the state.
Country races at Bathurst will now carry $1,000 more prizemoney for each event, moving up to $25,000, while minimum prizemoney for provincial events jumped from $35,000 to $40,000.
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