The Melbourne Racing Club has struck a sponsorship deal with leading wagering company Sportsbet that it says will lead to one of the most important commercial partnerships in its history.

As part of a five-year arrangement that starts on January 1, Sportsbet has secured naming rights sponsorship for the Caulfield Cup, one of the jewels of the Victorian spring carnival.

Sportsbet will replace current MRC partner Entain as it ventures into the space of metropolitan race club sponsorship.

The deal also extends to Sandown and Mornington, two other racetracks run by the MRC.

Sportsbet is a market leader in the Australian wagering industry and the MRC hopes the association can unlock new opportunities for racing.

“This is the most significant partnership in the club’s history, and we’re thrilled to be working with Sportsbet, Australia’s largest wagering provider, to open up the sport to more audiences and futureproof racing on the sporting stage,” MRC chief executive Josh Blanksby said.

“We’re excited by the opportunities that partnering with such an iconic brand in the sport and racing spaces presents, and we look forward to introducing a greater sporting audience to our racing product through Sportsbet’s impressive market share.”

Key features of the deal include:
- Sportsbet offering a $1 million prize for any horse that takes out the Sportsbet Mornington Cup and Sportsbet Caulfield Cup double in the same calendar year
- An investment of $125,000 into racing growth initiatives at Mornington racetrack
- A $125,000 cash contribution to the MRC Foundation each year to support charities and local communities
- Australian-first LED technology for barriers to be rolled out early 2024
- Investment in growth of MRC Membership
- Enhancement of on-course experiences for GA customers

“The MRC is an incredibly successful and progressive club who are doing great things to enhance the sport and we can’t wait to be a part of that,” Sportsbet boss Barni Evans said.