The Gong, The Hunter, the new big regional races!

Wollongong, Newcastle win $1 million races and Saturday meets


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Newcastle will get its own $1 million race - The Hunter.

Newcastle will get its own $1 million race - The Hunter.

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Big win for regional racing with cash splash at Wollongong, Newcastle

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Wollongong and Newcastle will get elite $1million races similar to the likes of The Everest in Sydney with new races known as The Gong and The Hunter, and also stand-alone Saturday race meetings.

In an announcement late today, Racing NSW announced that Newcastle and Kembla Grange will stage standalone Saturday race meetings.

A $1 million The Hunter headlining the Newcastle meeting on Saturday 16 November 2019, and the $1 million The Gong will be the feature race at Kembla Grange on Saturday 23 November 2019.

Racing NSW said it hoped to attract 20,000 people to each race day.

Another announcement on more funding boosts for country racing is expected in the next two weeks.

In a statement, the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson MP, said Racing NSW understands the need to grow the industry across the whole state, not just in the capital city, which is why this investment is so important.

"Strengthening the racing industry in NSW is more than investing in Randwick and Rosehill, we want to grow the footprint of racing beyond the city limits to Newcastle and Wollongong, and beyond to ensure every corner of the state sees the benefit of a strong racing industry," Mr Anderson said.

"These races will rival races across Australia and the world which in turn will provide a welcome boost to their local economies."

Racing NSW Chairman Mr Russell Balding AO said "These new race days will provide the chance for Newcastle and Wollongong to shine as the feature NSW meetings immediately following The Everest Carnival.

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"Racing is a vital part of our social fabric and it is fitting that Newcastle and Wollongong as our next largest cities after Sydney will now have race days that they can be proud of.

"These meetings are a great opportunity for new racegoers in these cities to attend a feature event and see what racing is all about. Just as the Sydney public has embraced The Everest, we are confident that the Newcastle and Illawarra public will embrace The Hunter and The Gong as their race," Mr Balding added.

The $1 million Hunter will be a quality handicap race held at a distance of 1300m and may possibly attract runners from The Everest. The Gong will also be a quality handicap run for $1 million in prizemoney over a distance of 1600m.

The Newcastle Hunter meeting will also feature the Spring Stakes, Group 3 for three-year olds transferred from the existing Newcastle Cup meeting in September.

Being the feature NSW meeting on the Saturday, both the Newcastle Hunter and The Kembla Gong race meetings will also carry support races of minimum of $125,000 in prizemoney.

The Gosford Gold Cup meeting will join the Hawkesbury Gold Cup as a standalone Saturday fixture following the conclusion of the Sydney Autumn Carnival. The Gosford Gold Cup meeting will be run on Saturday 9 May 2020.

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