12/20/2007 1:00AM

Australia advances four on richest race list

EmailWhile Dubai's three big races - the World Cup, Duty Free, and Sheema Classic - maintained their place atop the list of the world's richest races in 2007, the competition at the top is heating up. The Melbourne Cup moved from sixth place to fourth with an increase of $867,000 provided, ironically, by the sponsorship of the Maktoum-controlled Emirates Airways.

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe jumped from 12th to ninth this year and will vault even higher next year with the news that a deal between France-Galop and the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club will double its purse to $5.88omillion in 2008.

The Emirates Racing Authority seems content with Dubai World Cup Night prize money as it stands, at least for the time being. No increases are planned for next year, but we can expect major jumps in 2010 when the big event is moved to the new Meydan Racecourse currently under construction.

Australia posted the biggest gains in the Top 100 this year. In addition to the Melbourne Cup, the Golden Slipper Stakes, both the richest sprint and the richest juvenile event in the world, leapt from 11th to eighth. The Cox Plate moved from 14th to 11th, while an influx of $900,000 saw the Caulfield Cup jump from 34th to 14th. Canada also prospered as the Canadian International moved up to 25th from 41st while the E.P. Taylor entered the list in 66th place.

The increase in the Breeders' Cup Mile purse from $1.98 million to $2.4 million made it the world's richest mile race as it moved from 28th to 16th, but the jump was entirely the result of supplementary entry fees. Of the three new Breeders' Cup races, only one made it into the Top 100, the Filly and Mare Sprint checking in at 80th place.

Another new race on the list was the Goffs Fillies Million. The female version of the Goffs Million, it is restricted to fillies sold at Goffs' elite yearling sale and arrived in 20th place with a purse of $2.2 million. New Zealand and Turkey both ran their first million-dollar races in 2007 with the Kelt Capital Stakes and the Topkapi Trophy. York's Juddmonte International, Doncaster's classic St. Leger Stakes, the CashCall Mile, and the Pennsylvania Derby all cracked the list for the first time, but the Italian Derby and the Colonial Turf Cup both fell out of the first 100.

A glut of 13 races - 12 of them American - worth an even $1 million finished in a tie for 93rd place. Two years ago, a race worth exactly $1 million came in at 81st place, while in 2006 it was 86th. New events on the list drop such races down a notch or two, but the decreasing value of the U.S. dollar is also a factor. If the greenback continues its recent slide, a race worth a flat million dollars might fail to make the Top 100 as early as next year.

Once again, Japan leads the world with 39 races on the list. The United States is second with 25 and Hong Kong third with 11. Continentally speaking, Asia leads with 57, North America has 27, Europe 12, and Oceania nine.

Aintree's Grand National Steeplechase moved into first place on the list of most valuable jump races at $1,405,110. The Nakayama Daishogai was second at $1,347,895 with the Nakayama Grand Jump third at $1,285,322, although both were worth 152,840,000 yen. Auteuil's Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris is the world's fourth million-dollar jump, race with a purse of $1,076,080.