The 2019 Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival will commence in Rockhampton next week with a record $2.7 million in prize money on offer throughout the campaign.
Staged from July 5 to September 14, the three-month carnival has been bolstered with an additional $250,000 for the five Cup races held across Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and FNQ Amateurs, ensuring each of the staying features now carries a purse of $150,000.
In addition, the TAB Queensland Northern Crowns Series, which provides up to $350,000 in bonuses for any sprinter or stayer which can secure three of the five respective features held throughout the carnival, is set to return.
“North Queensland provides an amazing backdrop throughout winter to race,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“This year we’ve made a conscious decision to bolster the prize money for our Cups, whilst continuing the popular Northern Crowns Series.
“By offering up to $350,000 in bonuses – in addition to record prize money - there is real incentive for trainers to target the Northern Crowns and extend their horses’ campaigns throughout the entire carnival.
“Thanks to the support of the Queensland Government, we’ve also been able to implement significant prize money increases over the past eight months for Northern Provincial Showcase meetings (36%), Standard meetings (21%) and Saturday Provincial 2 meetings (25%).”
First introduced in 2018, the Northern Crowns Series offers a $150,000 bonus to any horse that can secure three of the five staying races – the bonus swells to $200,000 should one of the three wins include the FNQ Amateurs Cup on September 14.
The incentive scheme is mirrored for sprinters with a $100,000 bonus initially on offer, which rises to $150,000 if victory includes the Cairns Amateurs Open Sprint.
In addition to the staying races, the Rockhampton Newmarket Handicap and Townsville’s Cleveland Bay will be run as $100,000 features this year, while the Mackay Newmarket will boast $75,000.
The Cairns Newmarket and Cairns Amateurs Open Sprint both rise to $75,000 in further prize money increases.
With the carnival commencing in Rockhampton on July 5, Mr Parnell said he looked forward to nine days of fantastic racing.
“The North Queensland features are always exciting events in their own right,” Mr Parnell said.
“They’re an important component of our racing calendar and capture the attention of the community and punters alike.
“I’m sure our increased prize money will only add to the excitement.”
2019 Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival
- Friday, July 5 - Rockhampton Newmarket Day;
- Saturday, July 6 - Rockhampton Cup Day;
- Saturday, July 13 - Mackay Cup & Newmarket Day;
- Thursday, July 25 - Townsville Cleveland Bay Handicap Day;
- Saturday, July 27 - Townsville Cup Day;
- Saturday, August 3 - Cairns Newmarket Day;
- Saturday, August 10 - Cairns Cup Day;
- Friday, September 13 - FNQ Amateurs Ladies Day; and
- Saturday, September 14 - FNQ Amateurs Cup Day.