Racing Victoria Limited has released the 2010 jumps racing program following consultation with the Australian Jumps Racing Association (AJRA) and participating race clubs.
The program will see 64 races held from April to August, with RVL increasing the minimum prize money for over 50 per cent of these races from $12,000 to $15,000.
The opening races of the season are scheduled for Tuesday, 6 April at Warrnambool with a maiden hurdle, open hurdle and open steeplechase programmed.
Warrnambool will host 22 races for the season, the most of any track, including four new $100,000 events which replace feature races no longer being run at Moonee Valley.
The first two features, an open hurdle handicap (3550m) and an open steeplechase handicap (3450m) over 3450m, will be run on Sunday, 11 July, whilst a set weights hurdle (4150m) and set weights steeplechase (4200m) have been programmed for Sunday, 1 August.
The other major change to the feature race schedule is the move of the $75,000 Great Southern Steeplechase (3600m) from Mornington to Pakenham on Sunday, 23 May, with the former to undergo a major track reconstruction following tomorrow's cup meeting.
Betfair Park Sandown will again host the iconic Grand National Hurdle (4530m) and Grand National Steeplechase (4530m) on Sunday, 15 August with RVL's funding commitment of $150,000 per race remaining unchanged.
“The 2010 jumps racing program has been developed in close consultation with the AJRA and provides a healthy balance between maiden, restricted and open class hurdles and steeplechases,” RVL Acting Chief Executive, Paul Bittar, said.
“The season is scheduled to start on 6 April to allow for agreed changes to the obstacles to be made and trialling to occur. Horses will need to successfully trial over the new obstacles at least once before they are permitted to race.
“RVL is committed to providing the opportunities for jumps racing to succeed in 2010 and where practical we'll support a highweight series and extended distance races that complement the jumps racing program.”
The popular Warrnambool Carnival will be held on Tuesday, 4 May to Thursday, 6 May with the $141,000 Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) run on the final day.
Other highlights of the program include the $101,500 Australian Hurdle (3400m) – $101,500 Australian Steeplechase (3400m) double at Betfair Park Sandown on Saturday, 19 June and a super day at Moe on Saturday, 17 July with four jumps races programmed.