The West

WA's sprinting crown, the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), will carry prize money of $1 million within two years under a strategic plan by Racing and Wagering WA to keep Ascot's carnival on the national radar.

Stakes for this spring's running of the weight-for-age feature will rise $250,000 to $750,000, making it the richest race in the State behind the $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m).

RWWA raised the Winter- bottom's purse to keep pace with the top interstate sprints. Melbourne boasts the $1 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m), while Sydney recently witnessed Lankan Rupee blitz his rivals in the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.

The Scahill Stakes (1400m) will be boosted by $75,000 to $200,000 in the hope of encouraging interstate trainers to remain in Perth for the Kingston Town Classic meeting, run a fortnight after the Railway and Winterbottom.

A new $100,000 1100m feature has been introduced on Kingston Town Classic day to lift the card, while all thoroughbred Group 3 features will rise from $125,000 to $150,000 from August 1.

The biggest surprise is the re-introduction of a 3200m feature to be run on WATC Derby day next autumn, after Perth Racing scrapped the 3200m Perth Cup in 2008.

The three racing codes - thoroughbred, harness and greyhounds - will receive an extra $6.5 million from this season's TAB growth, with a record $126 million to be distributed to stakes for 2014-15.

"The TAB performance has been quite solid," RWWA chief executive Richard Burt said.

"The WA TAB and Tabtouch have done a good job in a tough market. Over the past five years there has been a 22 per cent growth in distribution, not including grants.

"That is a reasonable performance and they (industry) should take confidence in the TAB's ability to generate those sort of profits.

"We have had 110 per cent growth in mobile channels around about a 10 per cent increase to our internet channel and our retail is flat.

"But it has performed quite well compared to other retail TABs and retail in general."

RWWA will also invest a further $14 million into key infrastructure projects. It will provide $9 million to Greyhounds WA to help build a new racetrack to keep Cannington as the hub of the greyhound industry.

RWWA will spend $3.5 million on a new Viscoride work track at Ascot; York Racing will get $1 million for facilities for the club to re-open and $500,000 will go to Pinjarra for it to be used as a third winter racetrack.

Harness racing will receive a 25 per cent increase to $1.6 million in distribution, with country clubs to get $1.24 million

"Over the past five years there has been a 22 per cent growth in distribution ...""RWWA chief executive *Richard Burt *

The West Australian

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