A record-breaking $2 million in stakes and bonuses has headlined the 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival.
During the two-month campaign, Racing Queensland was able to attract some of Australasia’s premier standardbreds including a 12% increase in inter-state and New Zealand starters.
With the Winter Carnival officially drawing to a close last month, 20 black type races were run and won with the Queensland Oaks, Queensland Derby, Sunshine Sprint and the Queensland Trotters Cup elevated to Group 1 status.
In total, eight Group 1s were conducted with the $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake featuring three of the top-five place getters from this year’s Grand Circuit including Inter Dominion champion, Tiger Tara.
A new Albion Park track record set by hometown hero, Colt Thirty One, underlined the quality of the Blacks A Fake field, while in the Queensland Derby, New Zealand raider, Self Assured, maintained his unbeaten start to his career with his first victory at Group 1 level.
“The standard of racing during this year’s Winter Carnival was exceptionally high,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“With increased prize money, we were able to double the number of Group 1s on offer, whilst providing attractive bonuses for those choosing to campaign in the Sunshine State throughout winter.
“Pleasingly, 12 of the 20 black type races were won by locals, while the All-Stars stable of Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon were able to capture the $20,000 TAB trainers’ bonus after enjoying Group 1 success with Self Assured and Our Princess Tiffany (Queensland Oaks).
“The latter courtesy of strong drive from Kylie Rasmussen, while Grant Dixon bookended the Group 1s with victories in the Redcliffe Yearling Sale Final and the Blacks A Fake to showcase the quality of Queensland driving.”
For a successive year, wagering remained strong throughout the Winter Carnival with the return of the Redcliffe feature meeting to a Saturday night among the highlights.
Turnover on the meeting increased by 18.4% to more than $2.6 million, while revenue quadrupled.
Over $4 million was wagered on the Blacks A Fake meeting to make it the highest turnover meeting of the Winter Carnival.
The Sunshine Sprint and Queensland Oaks meeting was also well supported with almost $3.5 million in turnover.