The 2018 Racing Queensland Winter Carnival officially kicks off tonight (Friday) at the Redcliffe Paceway.
Over the next eight weeks, the Sunshine State will play host to 14 Group features, 4 of which carry Group One status and includes the jewel in the crown, the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 21.
That event is the final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season.
But the rookie pacers take centre stage tonight with the running of the Gr.1 $100,450 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series Final over the 1780m.
First staged back in 2009, the $30,000 final was won by Abbey Tiara, the concept has grown at a rapid rate ever since.
The Redcliffe Harness Racing Club has increased prizemoney from the inaugural amount of $30,000 to $50,000 then $60,000 and then to $80,000 before reaching the current amount of $100,000.
Club Patron Chris Garrard and former President Kerry Ebert have been the driving force in reaching its current level.
Last year, the final carried Gr.1 status with the $100,000 prizemoney amount for the first time and Gold Reactor, trained by Kylie Rasmussen and Darren Weeks, stormed to victory with Chris Petroff taking the winning drive.
Heats were staged Wednesday week ago and the winners were Just Won More, Regulus and Ark Me.
Earlier this week, pre-post favourite Minted Montana was scratched owing to injury.
The race looks loaded with winning chances and betting markets reflect that with Regulus the current elect at $3.50 with UBET.
But the Rickie Alchin prepared pacer must overcome gate 11, the outside of the second-line.
Under the conditions, fillies gain preferential treatment with the barrier draw and several are rated solid chances.
And the prices the finalists brought at last year’s sale make for interesting reading, ranging from a mere $1250 to $28,000.
Mucho Guapa - $28,000 – by Rock N Roll Heaven
Signorina Jujon - $10,000 – by Mr Feelgood
Ginatiano - $3000 – by Alta Christiano
Ark Me - $9000 – by Mr Feelgood
Just Won More - $2000 – by Pet Rock
Cupcakesnwhipcream - $1250 – by South Park Hanover
Riverboat Myrtle - $3000 – by Cammibest
My Ultimate Sport - $3000 – by Sportswriter
Rocknroll Classic - $10,000 – by A Rocknroll Dance
Regulus - $18,000 – by Christian Cullen
The other highlight tonight is the Comfort Inn & Suites Northgate Redcliffe Derby which features brilliant performer Colt Thirty One.
Prepared by Grant Dixon, the Victoria Derby winner is ideally drawn in gate two and is quoted at $1.05 with UBET.
The Mach Three colt is having his first start at the track.