By Violeta Prockyte
The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions to fight it have wreaked havoc on the sports community. However, The Australian Turf Club received more than $100 million in just two days for events in the Championships. The money mostly came from Hong Kong and Japan and served as a boost to the Sydney racing carnival.
Hong Kong has strict regulations in place, meant to curb betting on international meetings. But the Championships were set as an exception. It resulted in $50 million in wages for each meeting, similar to last year.
Japanese punters could only bet on the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The international interest in Australian races keeps ATC general manager of international and wagering James Ross optimistic, "The Australian Turf Club has built very strong relationships with jurisdictions across the world in Hong Kong, Japan and the UK."
Despite all the security protocols in place, not everyone was able to contain their enthusiasm. Jockey, Tom Marquand and strapper Safid Alam went in for a celebratory hug and Racing NSW stewards fined them $2,000 and $500 respectively.
The ATC keeps a percentage of the betting money and it should help the organisation alleviate the expenses of holding meetings without crowds. Ross expressed hope that the result of the race will attract more international talent to future events: "The presence of internationally trained runners during the Sydney autumn clearly illustrates how valuable this can be to races such as the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes."