Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys wants world’s richest turf race to eventually rival Melbourne Cup for betting interest
The Everest can still only dream of that betting realm, but the ambitious V’landys has quickly claimed No.2 spot ahead of a super day in which the slots-only race will be run an hour before the Caulfield Cup in Melbourne.
“The Everest, in a short period, has captured the imagination of the punter,” said V’landys, also the chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission. “It’s by far our biggest race in NSW now. You have always got to be aspirational and the Melbourne Cup is the benchmark.
It’s by far our biggest race in NSW now. You have always got to be aspirational and the Melbourne Cup is the benchmark.
Racing NSW chief Peter V’landys
“As I’ve said many times, the Melbourne Cup is a race of a different generation and we’re trying to make The Everest for the younger generation. If that investment proves correct in the next 10 or 15 years it should be quite big.
“You have to remember 80 per cent of the 42,000 who were there last year were under the age of 35. The Melbourne Cup still appeals to this generation, but hopefully in 10, 15 or 20 years we can catch up.”
The Everest crowd at Randwick will be capped at 11,000 under COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday, but it will still attract Sydney’s social set and a healthy number of racegoers.
More importantly for expanding its global appeal is the fact broadcast partners SKY Racing will beam pictures of the race into more countries than in any other year since the race’s inception in 2017.
It will also show the race in a real-time video on Facebook Live.
“We have done races on Facebook before, but nowhere near as many countries as Saturday,” said Darren Pearce, SKY’s executive general manager media and international.
“It will go into Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Turkey, France and Russia. Those countries aren’t betting on the race, but they will be able to see it.
“Basically wherever we have not got a broadcast agreement in the racing world, [they] will watch it on Facebook. It will be on Fox Sports in the States again to hit the American cable market. We are going to 65 countries with The Everest and it is getting bigger every year.”
It’s also believed Racing NSW will remove the geoblock on its website.
The mixture of 12 wealthy businesses, partnerships and individuals who pay a minimum $600,000 a year for a slot in the race have all been given a lifetime option on a position in The Everest.
This year’s race will be the first time the first four horses past the post will earn a minimum $1 million for their slotholder and connections.
But after an increase in total prize money in each of the first four years, V’landys said it was unlikely the overall stakes would be raised beyond $15 million in 2021.
Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club elected to maintain the purse this year despite the crippling financial effect of the global health pandemic.
“We’ve put every bit of profit we’ve made from the race back into the race,” V’landys said. “I think we’ve reached a mark where we’ll probably leave it there. It’s still the richest race in the world on turf, but that’s not to say a future board might not increase it.”
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald