MM Racing Women boosts female participation

MM Racing Women create global surge in female participation


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Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.

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NEARLY 1000 horses have been registered over seven years for the Magic Millions Racing Women (MMRW) $500,000 Bonus on offer for all-female owned or leased horses in the  2YO Classic on Magic Millions Raceday at the Gold Coast.

The bonus scheme – for the first three eligible 100 per cent female owned (or leased) horses in finishing order – has inspired thousands of women around the world to become actively involved in Thoroughbred horse racing and injected millions of dollars into the industry.

For example, more than $22 million was spent buying horses at Magic Millions Yearling Sales across Australia during 2018 to target the Bonus for this coming January on Saturday, January 12.

They’ll be hoping to emulate the winning connections of this year’s winning 2YO filly Sunlight, who secured an additional $325,000 as part of the MMRW promotion. It’s the third time the winner of the 2YO Classic has picked up the Racing Women bonus with this year's $1.525 million winner’s cheque the biggest in the 32-year history of the Magic Million 2YO Classic.

Introduced in 2012 as a way to encourage greater participation, recognition and development of women in the Thoroughbred racing industry, Magic Millions co-owner Katie Page said the initiative has exceeded all possible expectations.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the Magic Millions Racing Women effect. It seems the lure of a $500,000 bonus was just the trigger many women needed to step into active ownership. We knew the expertise and passion was always equal to men. You only have to go to the Magic Millions January Sales to see how well-represented women are behind the scenes,” Ms Page said.

“Zara Phillips signed on as MMRW Patron almost from the start. She had witnessed first-hand the inexplicable thrill that only comes from watching your horse finish first past the post. She was a big part of taking the MMRW message to the UK and Europe.

“We’re particularly delighted to see the way word has spread and the impact Magic Millions Racing Women is having on the international racing scene. One of the most successful syndicates, ‘It’s All About the Girls’, brings together 40 women from eight different countries.  This means that these women now have connections to stud farms and trainers around the world and that they are at the cutting edge of developments in world racing. In the UAE, Phoenix Thoroughbreds has created the first female-only syndicate and Japan now has ‘Umajo’ – areas exclusively for female customers at racetracks.

“The bonus was established in response to the women we knew were already horse-lovers, but what has caught us all by surprise is the growth in participation among women with no previous connection to the Thoroughbred industry. Now they’re catching up on a regular basis, making decisions about trainers, race schedules, designing colours and enjoying the thrill and fun of a day at the track.

Magic Millions co-owner Katie Page-Harvey (third left) presents the Magic Millions Racing Women trophy to Qatar Racing assistant racing manager Hannah Wall and and connections of Sunlight in January. Picture - Magic Millions

Magic Millions co-owner Katie Page-Harvey (third left) presents the Magic Millions Racing Women trophy to Qatar Racing assistant racing manager Hannah Wall and and connections of Sunlight in January. Picture - Magic Millions

“I think if you examined the data in each of the major markets, Thoroughbred racing would come close to the fastest growing female participation sport in the world – granted it was coming off a low base.”

MMRW bonus is what industry needs

IRISH woman Elaine ‘Legs’ Lawlor – who runs the Australian investments in ‘It’s All About the Girls’, is a board member of Ireland’s Goffs Bloodstock, and one of the most influential women on the world racing scene – believes MMRW was just what the industry needed.

“Women are brilliant when they get together. They make things happen. For so long, women watched their husbands who were involved in the business, but weren’t involved themselves.  Those times are changing. When they’ve invested in their own horse they bring so much energy. They have so much fun and the friendships we’ve all formed are just fantastic. 

“Magic Millions Racing Women is the only incentive anywhere in the world specifically encouraging women to get involved and it has sparked something special in our industry. It’s also highlighting the benefits of syndication which isn’t very big in Europe just yet.  Syndication gives more people more access to a horse without costing the world, it opens the industry up and gets more people involved,” she said.

Queensland racing identity Linda Huddy is keen to one day claim the MMRW Bonus. “Magic Millions Racing Women is changing perceptions and changing the industry. This isn’t a man’s world – women are very welcome.  I’m noticing the changes in racebooks where there are more women listed as owners, on Racing Australia and at the track where more women are dressing up, enjoying a glass of champagne and cheering on their horses,” she said.

Racing Women's Bonus launched in WA

CONTINUED success of the world first Magic Millions Racing Women's initiative in Queensland has prompted the innovative Thoroughbred sales company to expand the concept to Western Australia.

Magic Millions, in conjunction with Racing and Wagering Western Australia, has announced a new $75,000 Bonus will be shared between the first three eligible 100 percent female owned (or leased) horses in finishing order in the $250,000 Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic, commencing in 2020.

The $75,000 Bonus is on top of the $250,000 race prizemoney purse and if the winner of the race is a Magic Millions Racing Women (MMRW) eligible runner that horse will scoop more than $200,000. A $60,000 Bonus (and trophy) will be paid to the first eligible runner past the post, $10,000 for second and $5,000 for third. All bonus money will be in addition to any advertised prizemoney won in the Classic, which holds Restricted Listed black type status.

The new MMRW WA Bonus is a great boost to breeders, trainers and syndicators at the 2019 Perth Yearling Sale which will take place for the first time at Magic Millions' new home in the nearby Swan Valley.

Prize money boosts for Capricornia Yearling Sale races

ROCKHAMPTON’S racing industry has received another shot in the arm with significant prize money boosts for the Capricornia Yearling Sale feature races to take effect from next year.

In a major coup for the Rockhampton Jockey Club, which recently took over management of the annual sale, The Capricornia Yearling Sale 2YO Classic (1200m) will get a $25,000 lift in prize money taking it to a $125,000 race. 

With the QTIS double bonus also retained in 2019, the 2YO Classic will see a total of $155,000 in prizemoney available for QTIS qualified horses.

The Capricornia Yearling Sale 3 and 4YO Championship (1300m), to be a combined age race for the first time in 2019, will also get a $25,000 boost and move to a $75,000 feature event. Again, the QTIS double bonus will be available seeing QTIS eligible runners competing for a total stake of $105,000. Both races are exclusive to horses purchased from the Capricornia Yearling Sale held in Rockhampton each April. 

Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Tony Fenlon said Racing Queensland should be commended for the support it was showing to racing in the Rockhampton region. Fenlon said following this announcement the RJC had extended the nominations deadline for people wishing to sell horses at the 2019 Capricornia Yearling Sale to Monday, January 7. Nomination forms can be downloaded at http://www.callaghanpark.com.au  

Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer Brendan Parnell said the allocation of additional funding was aimed at driving ownership and growing racing’s fan base in the Capricornia region.  “Racing Queensland is proud to support the Queensland breeding industry and to assist clubs that implement initiatives to help grow racing in their regions. The Rockhampton Jockey Club has worked hard to grow the Capricornia Yearling Sale and race day and it is hoped this prize money boost will support a continuation of growth in the years to come.”

These latest prize money boosts follow a prizemoney increase last month which came on the back of Racing Queensland allocating $18 million in additional benefits directly from the State Government’s contribution to the industry.

UBET and TAB combination to benefit customers

TABCORP customers in Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania gained access to several exciting features, including expanded Sky Racing vision, as part of the TAB and UBet brands coming together as one on Monday, December 17.

TAB replaces UBET in those States across agencies and licensed venues, with racetrack signage and sponsorships with the UBet app and website also moving to TAB branding. A major benefit for these customers as part of the rebranding will be expanded vision from Sky Racing available on their new digital platforms. During the rebranding, more than 1280 on-course and retail venues will change from UBet to TAB. Operating systems and technology will remain the same, aside from the UBet app and website changing to TAB green and branding. "The rebranding is the first significant customer-facing change and a key step in our effort to improve the performance of the UBet business," said Tabcorp Managing Director, Wagering and Media, Adam Rytenskild.

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