Herald Backs Hunter’s Richest Race

Article: James Gardiner

The region’s richest horse race will now be known as The Newcastle Herald Hunter. In a landmark deal, Herald publisher ACM has formed a partnership with Racing NSW, which includes naming rights for the $1 million The Hunter race and the $1 million The Gong. The Newcastle Herald Hunter, a 1300-metre quality handicap, will be raced at Newcastle racecourse on Saturday, November 18. The Illawarra Mercury Gong, raced over 1600-metre, is run the following Saturday, November 25, at Kembla Grange.

Both features are part of the Racing NSW Everest Carnival and are the richest races staged outside of the metropolitan area. The $1 million handicap is the highlight of a standalone 10-race metropolitan meeting at Newcastle, which includes the $300,000 The Beauford (2300m), the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) and Max Lees Classic (900m) for two-year-olds. Total prizemoney for the meeting is a $2.59 million.

Since its inception in 2019, The Hunter has grown in stature, attracting the nation’s leading trainers and jockey. Trainer James Cummings has won The Hunter twice for global juggernaut Godolphin, including last year with Vilana. Leading jockeys James McDonald, Hugh Bowman and Nash Rawiller have all tasted success. “The Hunter race day has quickly become Newcastle’s version of The Everest, attracting a new and young audience to the races,” Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys said. “It will only keep getting bigger. “Racing is part of the DNA of Newcastle and it’s a natural fit for the Newcastle Herald to be the official sponsor for The Hunter.” Until now, The Hunter had been without a naming rights sponsor.  “Newcastle Racecourse is proud and excited to be working with the Newcastle Herald as sponsors of this year’s The Hunter,”

Newcastle Racecourse chief executive Duane Dowell said. “It is so appropriate that a long-standing local brand like the Newcastle Herald is connected to this race, which continues to gain in significance and popularity since its inaugural running in 2019. “It is in its fifth running this year and the race continues to grow in stature. “Last year’s winner was Vilana, which is a multiple group winner. The year before was won by Lost And Running. We have had stars of the turf race in it every year. “This year we will see runners come out of The Everest and Sydney Stakes. As the years go on the depth of that class will only improve.”

Off the track, the action is also lively with fashion and entertainment, and officials are confident of crowds of more than 6000 on the day. The Herald, part of the ACM network, is a longtime supporter of Newcastle Racecourse. “ACM and its flagship Newcastle Herald are delighted to be partnering with Racing NSW as the sponsor of The Hunter 23,” ACM managing director Tony Kendall said. “We look forward to celebrating this iconic racing event for the Hunter region across the Herald and our weekly titles throughout the region. We’re keen to grow attendance at the event with promotional activity as well as covering all the racing action and trackside fashion and fun for our loyal print and digital audiences.