A STRONG international presence at this year’s Spring Racing Carnival is set to give local horses and trainers a tough run for their money.
A high of the carnival will be the Jayco Bendigo Cujp on Wednesday, October 30, just days before the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
“I encourage all Victorians to ‘get back on track’, take in the wonder of this international equine talent, but get behind our local thoroughbreds as they vie to keep the Cups right here in Australia,” Premier of Victoria and Racing Minister Denis Napthine said on Monday.
During a visit to the Werribee international horse quarantine facility, Dr Napthine said the ‘international raiders’ brought significant economic benefits to the Victorian economy.
Up to 22 racehorses from Hong Kong, Ireland, the United Kingdom and France will pass through the quarantine facility during the Spring Carnival.
There are 10 equine stars already in residence.
“Victoria’s Spring Racing Carnival is a flagship event on the international racing calendar not just for international racehorses, but also racegoers, fashionistas and punters from around the world,” Dr Napthine said.
“This year marks the 20th anniversary since Irish trained Vintage Crop became the first of the ‘raiders’ to win the Melbourne Cup.
“Since then the international profile of the Spring Racing Carnival has grown rapidly. International horses are now being aimed not just at the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, but also the Cox Plate, the Manikato Stakes and regional cups such as Geelong and Bendigo.
“This international interest brings enormous benefits to the Victorian economy through increased international visitation and expenditure at hotels, restaurants and fashion outlets.
“Almost 23,000 overseas visitors attended last year’s Spring Racing Carnival, and together with interstate visitors they accounted for 23.5 per cent of the total 706,000 attendees.
The overall benefit to the Victorian economy in 2012 was $620 million including $53 million spent on fashion, $35.5 million on accommodation and $53.5 million on food, beverages and race day dining.
Bendigo Jockey Club hosts the Daiquiri King Beach Party on October 19.
I encourage all Victorians to ‘get back on track’ this Spring