The best Tasmanian-bred four-year-olds will be chasing record prizemoney in this year’s Granny Smith and Raider Stakes which start with heats in Devonport on Sunday night.
The stake for each final on May 5 has been been lifted to $40,000, an increase of $10,000 on last season.
And, the industry has been told the plan is to go to $50,000 in 2019.
The other Sires Stake finals, the Globe Derby and Bandbox in Launceston and Dandy Patch and Evicus in Hobart, will be worth the same money.
At $40,000, the prizemoney already matches that on offer for the state’s two richest open-class races, the Tasmania Cup and Easter Cup.
Each series will have $10,000 heats.
All heats and finals will see 50 per cent of the stake go to the winner and the rest distributed among other starters.
Harness racing chose to use part of this season’s increased funding allocation to lift the stakes for its Tas-bred features in a bid to boost the breeding industry.
The rest of the extra funding was used for a general increase in prizemoney.
There are two heats of both the Granny Smith and Raider Stakes on Sunday night and they are part of a huge 11-race program.
Most industry participants will be pleased that the meeting starts earlier than normal at 3.46pm and will finish at 9.12pm.
The first three races are on Sky 2 and the rest on Sky 1.
AFTER LUNCH will be the only interstate horse in Sunday night’s heats.
She has drawn barrier 4 in the second heat of the Granny Smith where she will come up against last season’s Sires Stake final winner Ordinaire Jane.
The David Miles-trained mare, who was bred in Tasmania by Fred and Pauline Barker, has had a two-month break between runs.
She recorded her third win in 10 starts at Ballarat in January.
Miles launched After Lunch’s career in Tasmania in 2015 when she won the prelude of the Evicus Stakes in Hobart before finishing third to Chica Bella and Tambros Milly in the final.
All her other starts have been in Victoria.
No interstate mare has won the Granny Smith final while the last visitor to win the Raider Stakes final was Tippedintoomuch in 2009.
RAIDER STAKES Heat 1: Metro Mouse, Hillview Jake, Spot Eight, Barooga Jezza, Goggo Gee Gee, All Style Sammy. Heat 2: God Sake, Kwiatkowski, Art Of My Art, Karalta Delux, Timely Sovereign, Marnu The Beast.
GRANNY SMITH Heat 1: Tambros Milly, Ainsleys Dream, Little Bit Of Big, Hot Shot Bonnie, Kvitova Leis, Itz Gemmas Delight, Chica Bella. Heat 2: Ordinaire Jane, Karalta Stardust, Shesastandout, After Lunch, Tisu Bombbelle, Guesstamate, Viviers.