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Wellington racehorse owners and trainers could be in line for a massive pay day following the announcement by Racing NSW of a new $2 million race.

The Big Dance, to be held on the first Tuesday in November (Melbourne Cup Day) each year at Royal Randwick, will be open to the winners of 25 selected NSW country cups throughout the year.

Wellington Race Club secretary Dale Jones said the 1600 metre race will be a tremendous stimulus for country racing, providing an unprecedented “grand final” for country cup winners.

“Presently we have the Country Championships with rich qualifying races at various country tracks and a $500,000 final at Royal Randwick in April and that has become a major focus for many country trainers,” Mr Jones said.

“However with $2m in prizemoney, The Big Dance takes this to a whole new level.”

Mr Jones said the 25 country cups to be selected as qualifying races for The Big Dance had yet to be announced, but he was very hopeful the Keirle’s Pharmacy Wellington Cup (1700m) would be included when the qualifying cups are named.

“With $100,000 in prizemoney, the Keirle’s Pharmacy Wellington Cup is one of the richer country cups in NSW and should it be selected as a qualifying race it will have far greater significance when it is conducted on Wellington Boot Day on Sunday 27 March 2022,” he said.

“It would be a huge boost for Wellington Race Club and further increase the amount of money the $750,000 Wellington Boot Carnival injects into the local economy.”

Mr Jones said he was certain Wellington trainers would now target the qualifying country cups to be part of The Big Dance on the big stage at Royal Randwick.

“Local trainers Michael Mulholland and Peter Stanley have won a number of country cups in recent years and I’m sure our other trainers will be looking to add their names to that list,” he said.

Fresh from winning last month’s Cowra Cup with Athena’s Lad, Michael Mulholland is setting his veteran galloper Reward Seeker for back-to-back Keirle’s Pharmacy Wellington Cups next month.

As well as unveiling the inaugural The Big Dance, Racing NSW announced prizemoney increases for country TAB races. Each race will now be worth a minimum of $25,000 up $1,000 per race.

It is part of $27 million of prizemoney upgrades announced by Racing NSW.

Caption: Will the Keirle’s Pharmacy Wellington Cup lead to a $2 million pot of gold for Wellington trainers and owners.

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