Big Money Pay for Play Thoroughbred Races on the Ropes

After a few years of the Pegasus World Cup and The Everest, it appears that the idea of buying starting slots is not taking hold the way the innovators of the idea would have hoped.

The second edition of the Pegasus World Cup in Florida found the Stronach Group, the corporation sponsoring the race, holding the bag for four slots at $US 1 million each.

They responded by cutting the barrier fee to $500,000, which provided the desired outcome of their needing to buy just one slot, but they reduced the prizemoney for the race from $16 million to nine million, using the $7 million reduction to add a $7 million turf race.

The Everest now finds GPI Racing looking for a buyer for its slot, with the plan being for bloodstock company Inglis to handle a bidding process where bids from any with an interest being accepted over the next nine weeks.

It is hard to determine at this point if GPI will turn a profit on the auction, or whether they will be looking at a scenario where they will cut their losses.

As anyone who has ever participated in an auction knows, the first bids tend to be low-ball offers and the real money does not come in until nearer the end. With a nine-week window, we would expect a substantial bid to come in sometime around the end of April.

The worst-case scenario for GPI would be a zero bid auction, with their being responsible for the slot.

There are other scenarios of course, too many to mention.

GPI wants to sell the slot because Chautauqua was retired.

“When we purchased our slot in The Everest, it was with a view to our champion Chautauqua competing in the race year after year,’’ GPI Racing principle Greg Ingham said.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’Landys put a positive spin on the development, saying, “It was always envisaged that the slots in The Everest would be tradable. With prizemoney of $14 million, it’s potentially very good value for an owner of a horse that may be otherwise a fringe contender to get a start in the race.”

Is Chris Waller scouring his stables for a fringe contender?

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