2023 Group 2 Westbury Classic winner Impertatriz.  Photo: Race Images NZ

Stakes increase for Westbury Classic to further bolster TAB Karaka Millions

3 November 2023

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) and Entain are today announcing a further stakes increase to the TAB Karaka Millions meeting, set to be held on 27 January 2024 at Ellerslie.

The Group 2 Westbury Classic will receive a significant prizemoney boost, increasing from $300,000 to $500,000. The 1400 metre race for fillies and mares has been run since 2006 and has been won by numerous New Zealand racing stars, including the current sprinting sensation, Imperatriz and Champion Sprinter-Miler Levante.

NZTR Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Sharrock is thrilled to see further enhancements made to strengthen stakes in New Zealand. 

“The TAB Karaka Millions meeting has established itself as one of the highlight events on New Zealand’s racing calendar. The meeting not only provides our industry with the opportunity to deliver a world-class evening of racing, but also offers fans the ultimate racing experience.

“NZTR has already supported a boost to the race card, announced earlier this year with the addition of an Open Class $1 million four-year-old race, and an increase in stakes to the Karaka Million three-year-old race. We now have a significantly enhanced meeting, and the latest increase in stakes to the Westbury Classic solidifies NZTR’s commitment to driving wagering and participation in our sport.

“NZTR has collaborated closely with Entain since the announcement of the strategic partnering arrangement in May. Already, numerous exciting initiatives have been set into motion to take our sport to new heights and we are looking forward to continuing to work closely with Entain as we enter a new era for our sport,” Sharrock said.

Entain Managing Director – New Zealand, Cameron Rodger is excited by this latest boost for fillies and mares.

“Providing elite racing opportunities for our future broodmares is one of the key pillars we believe is required to supercharge the New Zealand industry and this initiative with NZTR is a great example of that,” Rodger said.

Westbury Stud General Manager Russell Warwick also welcomes the increase to next year’s Westbury Classic stake.

“We’ve been so proud to be associated with this race since its inception in 2006. The stake that year was $35,000 so to see the stakes reach half a million dollars is a massive vote of confidence for the race going forward.

“With such an impressive prize pool on offer, we expect a great field of fillies and mares to line up in January and we can’t wait to see who takes out the 2024 running,” Warwick said.

The increase in stakes to the Westbury Classic comes alongside news of a newly established partnership between Entain and ATR.

The wagering operator and Club have joined forces to enhance the racing experience for fans at Ellerslie and Pukekohe. This long-term partnership entails the sponsorship of the New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie, which will be renamed the Trackside New Zealand Derby. Additionally, it includes the prominent sponsorship of the Counties Cup at Pukekohe, as well as the establishment of a new TAB Lounge to be built at Ellerslie.

“We congratulate Entain and ATR on their new partnership venture. It’s great to see a focus on enhancing our fans’ experience, aiming to attract higher participation in our race days,” Sharrock said.

You might also like