The scene is set for five weeks of thrilling Group 1 racing during the 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival following this morning’s launch on the picturesque Redcliffe Peninsula.
This year’s launch coincides with a return to Saturday night Group 1 racing at the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club this weekend, headlined by the $100,000 Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series Final for two-year-olds, the Redcliffe Pacing Cup, Derby and Oaks.
It also signifies the start of the 2019 TAB Grand Slam Bonus Series, which again offers incentives for connections to race their horses right through the carnival.
Racing Queensland Acting CEO Geoff Quinlan said the 2019 carnival was shaping to be one of the most exciting in recent memory.
“TAB’s significant sponsorship of the 2019 carnival has ensured four additional Group 1 races, which has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport to Queensland,” he said.
The Queensland Derby, Queensland Oaks, and Sunshine Sprint will each be raced for over $100,000 in 2019. The Trotters Cup has been increased to $50,000 ensuring a return to Group 1 status and taking the total number of Group 1s on offer to eight.
“This move will help ensure the eyes of Australia and New Zealand are firmly fixed on the Redcliffe and Albion Park tracks throughout the carnival period,” Mr Quinlan said.
TAB’s Queensland Oncourse Manager Selina Rumble addressed the audience at this morning’s launch and said TAB was proud to partner with RQ to deliver another exciting carnival.
“TAB is proud to be the largest financial contributor to the Australian racing industry and returned $1 billion to the sport in 2018,” Ms Rumble said.
“We look forward to continue working with Racing Queensland to deliver exciting racing events such as the 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival.”
Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said he was looking forward to the carnival action kicking-off at his club on Saturday night, where a great night of entertainment is planned, including a free show from 80s rockers Mental As Anything.
“Our club was thrilled to partner with Racing Queensland to offer a new experience for fans on our biggest night of the year,” Mr Ring said.
Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman David Fowler said on-course patrons at this year’s Albion Park carnival will be again be treated to the best in standardbred racing entertainment.
“Visitors to the Silks marquee can almost reach out and touch the horses as they fly past at speeds exceeding 50km/h, while experiencing fine dining at this inner-city location,” Mr Fowler said.
“The club is once again excited to host Australasia’s top Grand Circuit campaigners plus the cream of the juveniles and quality trotters over the carnival, but we’ll also be cheering on our local stars of the sport as they strive to keep the recently enhanced prize money on offer north of the border.”
‘Grand Final’ night of the 2019 Winter Carnival will be on July 20 when some of the best pacers in Australasia and the world hit the Albion Park track for TAB Blacks A Fake Night, featuring four Group 1 races and upwards of $600,000 in prize money.
Racing Queensland Harness Strategy and Development manager David Brick said the night would conclude the 2019 TAB Grand Slam Bonus Series, which offers $165,000 in bonuses linked to the three-year-old classics, trotting events and the TAB Blacks A Fake Queensland championship.
“Any horse that wins a Grand Circuit race during the 2018/19 season and then lines up in the $200,000 TAB Blacks A Fake automatically receives a $10,000 ‘Grand Final’ bonus. This bonus was established to ensure some of the best horses in Australia come to Brisbane for the Carnival.”
The bonus has helped lure Grand Circuit champion Tiger Tara to Queensland, with trainer Kevin Pizzuto confirming the iron horse will campaign in the Sunshine State this winter.
Pizzuto said of Tiger Tara: “It will be good to return to Albion Park with him. The weather is good and it will be another top field, I’m sure. He has raced well there before.”
Top Kiwi horsemen Tim and Anthony Butt have also arrived in Queensland to campaign a strong team during the carnival.
“Queensland has provided me with some very happy memories over the years. We’ve won a few big races here, and apart from my first New Zealand Cup win with Blossom Lady (1992), one of my greatest moments in the sport came in Queensland,” the gifted reinsman said.
2019 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival – Group 1 events
- 22 June 2019: Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Final (2YO) @ Redcliffe HRC
- 13 July 2019: TAB Queensland Oaks (3YO Fillies), Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint (Open), Prydes Queensland Trotters Cup (Open) @ Albion Park HRC
- 20 July 2019: Egmont Park QBRED Triad Final (2YO Fillies), Egmont Park QBRED Triad Final (2YO Colts and Geldings), Queensland Derby (3YO), TAB Blacks A Fake (Open) @ Albion Park HRC