Racing Queensland has launched the 2017/18 Queensland Summer Racing Carnival in Brisbane.
Trainers Tony Gollan and Paul Butterworth joined prodigious jockey Matt McGillivray to talk about their chances ahead of the UBET Queensland Summer Crowns Series, which gets under way at Doomben on Saturday.
The $1.6 million series – introduced by Racing Queensland in 2016 – proved a hit with punters and industry participants in its inaugural season.
A carefully designed program provides the perfect platform for trainers and owners targeting the $10 million Magic Millions Race Day on the Gold Coast in January.
Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer Dr Eliot Forbes said there was plenty of exciting racing to look forward to over the next six weeks and “none of it would be possible without the support of our clubs and sponsors”.
“Particular thanks must go to Brendan Parnell and his team at UBET, who have once more thrown their support behind the Summer Crowns Series, and next week’s Origin Jockey Series,” Dr Forbes said.
“I would also like to thank the Brisbane Racing Club, the Sunshine Coast Turf Club and the Gold Coast Turf Club for making this carnival possible.”
Mr Parnell said UBET had worked closely with Racing Queensland to drive unique marketing and wagering concepts to grow racing.
“As a partner of Racing Queensland for 55 years, we’re really proud to get behind the Summer Carnival once again through sponsorship of the UBET Summer Crowns and UBET Origin Jockey Series,” he said.
BRC General Manager of Racing Matt Rudolph said the new-look carnival would generate plenty of interest leading into the $10 million Magic Millions.
“RQ have done a great job bringing the package together between the clubs,” he said.
“Queensland is a (breeding) ground for some very good horses. Last year Winning Rupert won the Crown and was sold to stud for $6 million … it’s an exciting nursery for talent.”
DOWNLOAD THE 2017/18 QUEENSLAND SUMMER RACING BROCHURE
The theory could be validated on Saturday when Paul Butterworth’s exciting three-year-old Capital Gain returns in the Winning Rupert Plate. Butterworth won his maiden Group 1 with the gelding in the JJ Atkins (1600m) in the winter.
“I am pretty excited with what we’ve seen so far,” Butterworth said.
“We gave him a big break because he was tired after the JJ Atkins but he developed really well. His work says he has improved … I think he’ll take a power of beating.”
While Butterworth is a trained on the rise, Queensland’s four-time champion metropolitan trainer, Tony Gollan, is hoping for repeat success.
Gollan won the $400,000 Sprint Crown with Most Important in 2016. The pair will look to bounce back in Saturday’s G3 George Moore Stakes, after a last-start sixth in the Keith Noud Quality, and a “terrible” spring campaign in Melbourne.
“I thought Monsieur Gustave was a good winner the other day and he’ll be a hard nut to crack this summer,” Gollan said.
“We’re keen on the re-match on the weekend and the Sydney-siders are here now, so it’s the start of what’s going to be a very exciting summer.”
Young jockey Matt McGillivray got his summer off to a flier, winning his first stakes race at Doomben last weekend aboard Crack Me Up.
The 25-year-old grew up in South East Asia before moving to Australia to begin his apprenticeship with Roma trainer Craig Smith.
“If you work hard in the early stages it eventually pays off,” McGillivray said of his revent success.
It could pay off in the form of Tony Gollan’s smart 2YO Ef Troop, which won in blistering time on debut at Doomben last month.
“I’m still establishing myself in Brisbane and want to cement my position here,” McGillivray said.