Inglis’ $5 million cash splash aimed at maidens

Xtra Bonuses worth $100,000 latest initiative in sales houses’ war for share of $600 million yearling market 

Inglis will splash a stunning $5 million in bonus prize-money at the base of a booming Australian racing industry, with 50 maidens across the nation’s eastern seaboard to be worth at least $100,000 in a significant opening of the war chest by the company as it competes for the lion’s share of the lucrative $600 million domestic yearling market.

Announced on Sunday evening, on the eve of Inglis’ season-opening Classic Sale in Sydney, the massive $5 million Xtra Bonus injection has been labelled as a “game-changing” investment by the auction house and will see owners of graduates of the thoroughbred seller’s yearling sales eligible for a lucrative cash windfall if they win one of the suite of maiden races nominated each year by company.   

As part of the Inglis Xtra Bonus Series, 50 maidens will be selected to carry the $100,000 bounty with a focus on races in New South Wales and Victoria as well as Queensland and they will run almost every week of the year at major country carnivals, midweek metropolitan and provincial race meetings from the 2024-25 Australian racing season.

The Xtra Bonus maidens, eligible to horses born in 2021 and beyond and who are paid up for the Inglis Race Series, will range from 900 metres to 2000 metres and be open to horses aged three years old and up.

Inglis Bloodstock chief executive officer, Sebastian Hutch, said that the auction house had constantly been reviewing aspects of its thoroughbred sales business, including its race series, before determining the $5 million course of action.

“Something we’ve consistently been looking at is trying to create a scenario where more people win more often,” Hutch told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“With prize-money and the various breeding schemes available, there are good incentives for winning maidens, but the average prize-money for a maiden that we looked at is around $20,000 to $21,000 to the winner, so by adding a $100,000 bonus on top of that we are effectively adding five times the value of the prize-money to these designated maidens. 

“We think that is a fantastic opportunity for people across a variety of locations, race distances and race profiles, etc.”

Incorporated into the Inglis Race Series – which features the $2 million Inglis Millennium (RL, 1100m), the $1 million Inglis Sprint (RL, 1200m), the $500,000 Inglis Banner (RL, 1000m), the $500,000 Inglis Nursery (RL, 1000m), the $250,000 Inglis Bracelet (1600m) and $200,000 Inglis Challenge (1100m) – the Xtra Bonus Series initiative will see the total prize-money pool jump to $12.55 million on offer to paid up Inglis graduates in the 2024-25 season. 

The bonus prize-money arms race between Inglis and rival Magic Millions has ramped up over the past few years, as the competition has intensified between the Australian auction houses for breeders’ best horses and for the attention of the diverse buying bench, including trainers, agents, owners and syndicators.

Hutch said Inglis’ own $5 million purse was an appropriate way to reward owners and trainers who supported the auction house’s sales and that the company deliberately chose to avoid adding to the rich races already supporting talented juveniles.

“First and foremost, it’s about selling good horses and we pride ourselves on consistently selling good horses and that’s the biggest advertisement for our sales that we could ever have, but then you look to try and enhance that with various incentives to owners,” Hutch said.

“We’ll have prize-money in the region of $4 million for our two-year-old races this [season] … It’s a lot of money for two-year-old races and we wanted to see how we might further incentivise some horses beyond the age of two, so the series starts for three-year-olds and we think that’s a good way to participate in our sales and generate returns to owners.

“We’re not trying to imitate anybody, we’re trying to identify needs that we think will work well for us based on the feedback that we get from our clients and this is something that we feel correlates well with feedback we’ve had from people over many years.”

A schedule of maiden races, venues and dates will be determined by Inglis once the calendar of race meetings for the 2024-25 racing season has been released by the respective principal racing authorities.

The above is a replication of an article written by Tim Rowe for and can be read in full here.