WA racing is riding high with increased funding, investment in race clubs and prize money doubled for the historic Perth Cup.

The traditional New Year’s Day race will soar in value from $500,000 to $1 million to get 2024 off to a flying start.

Racing and Wagering Western Australia Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards announced a funding uplift of close to $11 million across the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing codes.

“A highlight this year is the boost for the Perth Cup, which first ran in 1887 and has a cherished place in WA history,” Ian said.

“It’s time for our favourite New Year’s Day event to regain the status it deserves.”

Total funding of more than $215 million will be distributed in the 2023/24 financial year.

“Despite the economic headwinds we are currently facing, WA racing is holding its ground and we are fulfilling our commitment to provide a significant increase in funding for the year ahead,” Ian said.

“On top of this funding, an extra sum of almost $9 million will go to infrastructure projects at racetracks across the state from new lighting at Bunbury Trotting Club to an irrigation upgrade at Kalgoorlie.”

Capital expenditure projects include getting under way on a top-class greyhound adoption centre to prepare dogs for life as pets and match them with suitable homes when they retire from racing.

The project is supported by the one per cent deducted from prize money on all WA races, which is assigned to animal welfare initiatives.

RWWA’s first TAB-funded distribution to the racing industry came to a total of $66.6 million in 2003 and Ian said last year marked a record at more than $200 million.

“We are setting a new record again this year with $215 million of funding for the racing industry in Western Australia,” Ian said.

“As one of the state’s biggest employers, a strong racing sector is good for both the Western Australian economy and our community.

“Racing contributes more than $1.3 billion to the WA economy annually and generates more than 10,000 full time jobs.

“As we move into uncertain times, careful financial management remains essential to meet new challenges and continue making an important contribution to our state.”

Key funding increases for the 2024 season include:

  • $5.7 million added to thoroughbred prize money and a further $1 million added to the trainers’ subsidy paid on a per starter basis.
  • $1.5 million rise in prize money across all greyhound race meeting types and an increase to feature heats and finals stake levels.
  • $1.4 million in prize money and breeding bonuses across all levels of races for the harness code, including the introduction a new $100,000 Westbred four-year-old race.