Sports

Joe Cleary eyeing off million-dollar pay day in The Kosciusko 

Queanbeyan trainer Joey Cleary says it will be "life-changing moment" for whoever who wins the inaugural $1.3 million The Kosciusko in Sydney this October.

Racing NSW unveiled the county-only race, for which punters and racing fans can broker deals with the state's top regional horse owners, including Cleary, to share in the riches.

Queanbeyan trainers Joe and Frank Cleary.

Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Racing NSW has entered into a joint venture with Tabcorp and the Australian Hotels Association, which will sell 200,000 raffle tickets at $5 each.

The 12 winners will secure a slot in the race and then pick one of 20 horses put forward by Racing NSW, before negotiating their share of the profits with owners.

The Kosciuszko will be run on the same day as the $13 million The Everest, the world's richest turf race, at Royal Randwick on October 13.

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Cleary will nominate his champion seven-year-old gelding, Coolring, and said he'd love the be involved in the historic race.

"It's a very exciting concept, nothing but a real positive for us. The little battling country trainers have the chance to win a bunch of money," Cleary said.

"Its one for the guys from the bush and it's going to be a life-changing moment for whoever wins it. Fingers crossed we're part of it and if were fortunate enough well enjoy the ride.

"Coolring, with his form hell be more than competitive and he fits the criteria quite well. They draw the slots in September then all roads lead to Randwick on October 13."

The announcement comes after Racing NSW increased prizemoney in all races, with Highway Handicaps – city races for country horses – raised to $75,000 and country meets jump to $22,000.

The prizemoney increase has targeted better-compensating horses finishing fourth to 10th, with the latter now now fetching $3500 in the city on Saturdays.

"There's gonna be enough for a cooked chook and bottle of coke instead of going home to bread and dripping," Cleary said.

"It's a good time to be in the game and the harder you work the more you get out. But it doesn't put us on easy street, we still carry a lot of as trainers, this is just going to give us some breathing space with cash flow.

"We do carry a lot of money and at the end of the day the horse needs to compete to make money, it's a competitive market like any business.

"It's very exciting times and this should attract more people to the game and at the end of the day we're all going to get a little drink. Onwards and upwards."

The Kosciuszko tickets are on sale and 12 winners will be drawn out on September 14.

Canberra horse are not be eligible as they were controversially stripped entry to Highway Handicaps last year.

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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