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With just one month until Racing Queensland’s inaugural $900,000 QTIS Jewel Raceday (March 17), the first of five regional qualifiers will be held at the Rockhampton Jockey Club on Thursday.
Qualifiers will then be held at Cairns (February 10), Toowoomba (February 17), Mackay and Townsville (March 3), with the winners to be ballot exempt from the $125,000 QTIS 3YO Jewel.
Each of the qualifiers will also offer a QTIS double stakes bonus,.
A QTIS eligible filly stands to take home $21,850 for winning at Rockhampton on Thursday, while a winning colt or gelding could take home $17,600.
The QTIS Jewel Regional Qualifiers and QTIS Jewel Race Day is set to grow even further in 2019, with the QTIS 3YO Jewel worth $250,000, and the total raceday stakes on offer to exceed $1 million.
A small but select field will line-up for the qualifier on Thursday, with reigning QTIS Horse of the Year Paradis Imperial asked to carry the top-weight of 64kg. Apprentice jockey Elyce Smith will claim 3kg.
Brisbane trainer Paul Butterworth will also travel north with Wonder Boom, and is confident his charge is better suited at the weights.
“I can’t see him getting beaten,” Butterworth said.
Tom Button will saddle-up Wicked Express first-up, after the Wicked Style gelding finished a close-up second to recent metropolitan winner Bat A Kat at the Sunshine Coast on November 19.
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