Punters and Sydney racing fans have backed the new-look Golden Slipper Carnival, with strong free-to-air and pay TV audience numbers - and big increases in TAB turnover - during three days of racing at Rosehill Gardens, reports Racing NSW.

Almost three million people watched the three Saturdays of racing at Rosehill Gardens on TV broadcasts, including 1.04 million people who tuned in to free-to-air coverage on Channel 7 on Golden Slipper Day to see Sydney’s iconic race.

Among the biggest increases in TAB turnover on individual races were The BMW and Vinery Stud Stakes – with betting on those races up 25% and 28% respectively – and overall NSW TAB turnover on the day up 7%. Turnover on The BMW increased by 5% on similar 'stand-alone' feature events from 2014 such as the Coolmore Classic, Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas and Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas, supporting the decision to make The BMW a feature event on day three. Total NSW TAB turnover on Golden Slipper Day increased by 1.3%.

Attendances at Rosehill Gardens over the three weeks remained steady on last year, with the ATC looking to now sustain and improve crowds over coming years with a set racing calendar, and a refresh of facilities in Members and general admission areas.



Left: Peeping (Sam Clipperton, white & red) wins The Sebring at Rosehill Gardens during ATC's successful Golden Slipper Carnival

The ATC is confident that year on year crowds at Rosehill Gardens can grow once fans become accustomed to a quality raceday of entertainment and a consistent racing program. This year’s Golden Slipper again highlighted its influence on the breeding landscape – with winning colt Vancouver reportedly sold for $40 million weeks after the race.

It also comes as Swiss watchmaker Longines - international racing’s largest partner – has signed with the ATC to support the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper, as part of the Longines Golden Slipper Carnival.

This year’s racing was highlighted by five Group Ones on Tooheys New Golden Slipper Day, as well as the great contest between the Godolphin Stable’s Hartnell and Japanese visitor To The World in another high-class field in The BMW.

The fashion and celebrity stakes were as strong as the racing, highlighting a Carnival of quality on and off the track that Western Sydney deserves. The ATC and Sky Racing also recorded double digit growth in followers on social media platforms.

The ATC's investment in International Ambassador Nicole Richie gained international exposure for Rosehill Gardens’ signature event, and introduced the Golden Slipper to many fashion conscious young Australians for the first time.

This year’s Golden Slipper Carnival started on 14 March, followed by the Tooheys New Golden Slipper on 21 March and The BMW on a new day, Western Sydney Legends Day on 28 March.

Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Officer, Darren Pearce said the strong turnover and audience figures had given the Club a solid base to further grow the three-week Golden Slipper Carnival. Mr Pearce said the ATC would focus on five key areas in assessing the success and future planning of the Golden Slipper Carnival.

“Aside from financial measures, we have five key indicators – how the track played, the quality of horses in the major races, TV audiences, wagering, and crowd numbers," Mr Pearce said. “The track played very well through the three weeks and the depth of the fields and performances such as Vancouver (Slipper), Hartnell (The BMW), Contributer (Ranvet), and Real Impact, Criterion and Kermadec (George Ryder) set the standard ahead of The Championships.

“The new program has delivered outstanding racing and importantly strong turnover and engagement by traditional racing fans as well as new customers. Our New Breed campaign was about putting the Golden Slipper back on a pedestal in its own right, and we want this new racing and marketing program to bed down and grow in future years.

“Whilst we are very pleased with the strong TV numbers we now also want to grow crowd numbers at the track again."