A new dawn beckons for harness racing in Queensland with the launch of the $250,000 Rising Sun.
Earlier today, Racing Queensland unveiled the Group 1 feature, which is set to become the richest harness race in the Southern Hemisphere for three and four-year-old pacers.
As part of the unique event, which will be staged at Albion Park on Saturday, July 18, two wildcards will be offered to Australasia’s best three-year-olds.
As an added incentive, any three-year-old that contests the Rising Sun will benefit from a preferential draw, and should they triumph in the race, will receive a $100,000 bonus to secure the most lucrative pay day ever offered in the Sunshine State.
“The Rising Sun is more than just a new race,” Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.
“It’s a Group 1 blockbuster designed to entice Australasia’s best age-restricted horses to our shores and to create an event that becomes iconic to Queensland.
“We unashamedly want all roads leading to Brisbane throughout June and July.”
Prior to last year’s Queensland Carnival, the Queensland Derby, Queensland Oaks, Queensland Trotters Cup and the Sunshine Sprint were all elevated to Group 1 status.
The inclusion of the Rising Sun swells the Carnival’s tally to nine in 2020, with further enhancements to be announced in the near future.
In the lead-up to the Rising Sun, RQ will be engaging with experts and punters alike to pick their fantasy fields, with Group 1 winner Governor Jujon among Queensland’s leading hopes.
Boom New Zealand gelding Self Assured, who announced himself upon winning last year’s Queensland Derby, would be a serious contender from across the ditch, while Lochinvar Art, Balraj, Hurricane Harley and Max Delight form part of the southern raiders who could create history.
“There’s almost 250,000 reasons for Australasia’s best three-year-olds to try and win the inaugural Rising Sun,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“The positioning of the Queensland Carnival late in the season provides the perfect launching pad for our ‘Rising Suns’ to launch themselves into open class racing.
“We have seen that with Self Assured and Colt Thirty One over the past two years and we look forward to the next superstar doing likewise in the coming months.
“Most of all, we look forward to the Rising Sun becoming a real talking point between now and July 18.”