The Apiam Bendigo Cup's status as one of the spring carnival's feature staying races has been further enhanced by a significant prizemoney boost.
Racing Victoria announced on Tuesday that the 2022 Bendigo Cup would carry prizemoney of $500,000 - an increase of $100,000.
"We've been lobbying this for more than 12 months now,'' BJC chief executive Aaron Hearps said.
"It's sensational for the club. The Moonee Valley Cup (ran the Saturday before the Bendigo Cup) had a prizemoney increase last year and we're very pleased that the Apiam Bendigo Cup has been given a $100,000 increase 12 months later.
"It solidifies the race in the calendar and, outside of Flemington (Derby Day), it's the last chance to boost a horse's ballot order for the Melbourne Cup.
"It's only going to strengthen the race."
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the Bendigo Cup had become a target race for international stayers, with Qewy winning in 2017 and Francis Of Assisi in 2016.
"It's too early to tell yet as to how many international horses will be coming to Australia for this year's spring carnival,'' Hearps said.
"Reading between the lines, it seems more likely than unlikely that we'll have more internationals come across this year.
"Hopefully we can have one or two internationals in our great race."
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Hearps said the next step in the club's plans was to see some of the support races on Bendigo Cup day improved.
"We have put forward some suggestions that we'd like to see happen with the support program,'' Hearps said.
"They're still being evaluated by Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria.
"We'd like to see the support races enhanced and, if it doesn't happen this year, we'll continue to work with the industry to make sure it happens for 2023 and beyond."
Meanwhile, the BJC is preparing to add Lombardo to its Nursery of Champions honour roll at the club.
Lombardo, trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, won its maiden at Bendigo in February, 2020, and last month took out the Group One Goodwood Handicap in Adelaide.
The five-year-old gelding is the 25th horse to have won at Group One level after breaking its maiden at Bendigo.
Some of the racing greats on the honour board include champion gallaper Better Loosen Up, Melbourne Cup winners Hyperno and Shocking, and jumping great Mosstrooper.
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