A blockbuster three days of racing will commence in Townsville tomorrow with the running of the $100,000 Cleveland Bay Handicap.
With the $150,000 TAB Townsville Cup scheduled for Saturday, Racing Queensland will split the two marquee thoroughbred meetings, which form part of the $2.9 million Northern Crowns, with the region’s premier greyhound race.
Traditionally run on a Tuesday in late August, RQ has brought forward the Group 3 Townsville Cup for greyhounds to Friday night with $25,000 on offer to the winner.
The primetime slot - along with the scheduling of the race in conjunction with the Cleveland Bay and TAB Townsville Cup – is expected to grow on-course attendance and wagering.
“The three races are great events in their own right,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said.
“But we think there is real merit in scheduling them together.
“It provides an opportunity for race fans to experience both codes, and after a tough start to the year, it’s been great to see the public’s response to the Winter Racing Carnival in Townsville and we hope that continues over the next three days.”
Having won last month’s sprint during the popular Greyhound Origin Series – along with the Group 2 Richmond Oaks in March - Dam Slippery has been installed as a near even money favourite for the black-type feature.
In the Cleveland Bay, last start winner, Ozark, trained out of the Jared Wehlow-stable in Rockhampton, is expected to jump as the favourite for the premier Townsville sprint.
Finally, acceptances for the TAB Townsville Cup have been published with a barrier draw to take place at Townsville RSL from 6.15pm this evening.
In addition to the on-track action, the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour will take in Cluden Park on Saturday allowing Townsville fans a rare treat to see the prize for the race that stops a nation.