The grand finale of Western Australia’s premier Ascot racing carnival will be a new $1.5million race called The Gold Rush.

The name was chosen from thousands of suggestions by readers of The West Australian and Racing and Wagering Western Australia Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards said it perfectly connected the glitter and excitement of racing with the origins of the state.

“I’m thrilled with the people’s choice. The Gold Rush links racing together with West Australian history in one brilliant name,” Ian said.

“There are Gold Cup races worldwide, which bring the glamour of the races as well as rich prizes to mind, but gold has even greater significance for WA as the historic foundation of our prosperity.

“The discovery of gold in the late 1800s turned a small colony into a thriving state. Just as the gold rush brought people running to Western Australia, every thoroughbred race is a similarly exciting rush to win.”

Gold turned the small town of Perth into a city, driving population growth from 49,782 in 1891 up to 184,124 in 1901.

New arrivals from eastern states and overseas flocked to Ascot to socialise and be entertained and the soaring economy enabled increased prizemoney, better facilities and improvements in the quality and number of horses racing.

The well-beloved brick and tile buildings at Ascot racecourse were built in 1903 during this flush of popularity – and the WA government was prompted to improve transport.

“It’s fitting that this name complements another of our top Group 1 races – the Railway Stakes – which was first run in 1887 and named after a new rail line which made trips to the races easier and more pleasant for Perth’s many new racing enthusiasts,” Ian said.

“Of all the great names suggested, The Gold Rush was the standout because it brings a sense of rightness and completeness to The Pinnacles.

“The gold rush helped to shape racing and shape our state so it will be exciting to watch the inaugural running of the Gold Rush on December 10.

“We are hoping the name will spark conversations and bring people together from across the state for the final week of The Pinnacles series and a celebration of how far WA racing has come.

“The engagement of the WA community in choosing a name for our new race has been wonderful. Many thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and congratulations to those who picked the winner.”