The Golden Eagle is one of the newest races on the Australian horse racing calendar, but a hefty prize pool has seen it rapidly slot in as one of the most valuable. Here is everything you need to know about this significant new race.
The race details
The Golden Eagle was first run in 2019, so there isn’t a lot of tangible history, but the story of how it came to be is nonetheless an interesting one. The race is only open to four-year-olds, and was created in an attempt to encourage owners to continue racing their colts at this age rather than sending them to stud. Many trainers believe that racehorses peak at the age of four, meaning there has so far been and will likely continue to be high-quality fields at this event.
The race is run under set weight conditions, and as a result, horses who have performed at Group level in the past are at an advantage. It takes place over 1,500 metres, and a maximum of 18 entrants are allowed to jump.
The prize money
The prize money is the major reason this race has so quickly risen to prominence. In total, $7.5 million in prize money is up for grabs, which means it sits behind only The Everest and The Melbourne Cup as the richest races in the country. All horses with the exception of 17th and 18th (if there are 18 runners) get a piece of the pie, though as always the rewards are fairly top-heavy in their distribution.
First place earns a huge $4.1 million in prize money, more than the total prize pool for many major races in Australia, while second is also well-taken care of with $1.5 million. Third, fourth and fifth earn $750,000, $376,000 and $180,000 respectively, while each of the runners finishing from sixth-eighth makes $100,000. $60,000 is then given to ninth and tenth, while 11th-16th earn a comparatively meagre $4,000 each.
In a unique initiative, 10% of the prize money from The Golden Eagle is given to charity, with each runner deciding on an organisation of their choice that has been accredited with Racing NSW. This means, for example, that first place chooses a charity to whom they give 10% of the $4.1 million they win ($410,000), while 16th has just $400 to give away.
When and where
The Golden Eagle takes place at Rosehill Racecourse, a track with tight turns which makes settling in a good position imperative prior to the first bend. In 2021, the event is scheduled to take place on the Saturday prior to the Melbourne Cup, the 30th of October, and though the exact start time is yet to be determined, it jumped at 4:50 pm AEDT last year and the gates will presumably go back at a similar time this year.
The Golden Eagle is one of the newest additions to what is an increasingly packed racing calendar in the Australian spring, but already it has made its mark courtesy in no small part to the enormous prize pool. The first two winners of the event were Kolding and Colette, two talented four-year-olds, and if that trend continues it looks likely that the race will become a staple of Australian racing.