Africa’s richest race on sand, the Emerald Cup, will carry a mega stake of R1 million from this year and the conditions of the event have been altered in favour of the higher-rated runners.
The conditions for this year’s Grade 2 race, to be run over 1450m on the Vaal sand track on Saturday 27 September, are similar to those for a Pinnacle Plate with the weights based on bands of merit ratings and a maximum top weight of 62kg.
Runners will be weighted as follows:
Merit rating 115 or more: 62kg
Merit rating 111 to 114: 60kg
Merit rating 107 to 110: 58kg
Merit rating 103 to 106: 56kg
Merit rating 99 to 102: 54kg
Merit rating 95 to 98: 52kg
Merit rating 94 and less: 50kg
The conditions of the Emerald Fillies’ Stakes have also been amended and will be similar to the Emerald Cup from this year.
And as a result of the changes to the conditions of the Emerald Cup and the Emerald Fillies Stakes, the Grade 3 August Stakes and the Sand Beach Stakes (Non-Black Type feature) at the end of August will be run as handicaps and not conditions races going forward.
These are the dress rehearsal races for the big day a month later and, as such, the winners will continue to be guaranteed a place in the Emerald Cup and the Emerald Fillies Stakes respectively.
“It’s a positive step forward,” said Phumelela Horseracing Executive Patrick Davis. “The new conditions of the Emerald Cup favour the best horses and better position the race for Grade 1 status. The increase in prize money was a joint decision by the Racing Association and Phumelela, while the changes to the conditions of the various races were decided by the Highveld Race Programming Committee.”
Emerald Cup Day, which is sponsored by the Emerald Resort and Casino, will be a fabulous occasion with seven feature races on the 10-race programme.