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At The Heart Of Racing

For more than 150 years, the thrill and excitement of racing has echoed across our state and at the heart of racing is the Queensland community thriving with amazing individuals who drive the industry forward as quiet champions and passionate unsung heroes.

Across the Sunshine State, our towns and cities are brought to life each year with racing serving as the highlight of their social calendar, showcasing the best we have to offer in food, fashion and live entertainment. Racing really is at the heart of who we are - a community of passionate Queenslanders who know this is more than just a Saturday meet, it truly is a way of life.

We unite over the stories that have brought individuals from every walk of life together to share in witnessing the athleticism and power of these great creatures - to fall in love with the heart warming stories of the race.

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Lancelot Bromac - Record-breaking pacer

Caboolture trainer Stewart Dickson, who has raced Lancelot Bromac for his stable in all of those career starts outside of his first five, reckons it would not be Tuesday racing at the Brisbane track without his old stager.

Lancelot Bromac is pacing himself into the record books. At 11-years-old, the gelding holds the record for most ever starts at Albion Park Harness Racing Club and is second for most starts in Australia with 429.

A stalwart in the stables each week at Headquarters, the pacer is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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Matthew McGuire - Dual-code trainer

Townsville’s Matthew McGuire has had a unique journey in the racing industry - training greyhounds and thoroughbreds at the same time for a number of years.

While the dogs have taken a backward step slightly over the last year, McGuire is hopeful of winning a decent race or two over the 2021 TAB Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.

While he cut his teeth in the greyhound game, McGuire was always destined to be in horses: his mother a trainer, father a jockey, who now trains, while his grandfather was in the code, as well.

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Kellie Buckingham - A life dedicated to racing 

Mareeba’s Kellie Buckingham wears many a hat within the racing industry in the Sunshine State. Buckingham rides track work for her husband, FNQ trainer Alex Malliff, works as the clerk of the course at several North Queensland clubs, is involved in equestrian and show jumping as well as rehoming retired racehorses.​

We caught up with Buckingham recently to speak about her life in racing.

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Blacks A Fake - Champion Queensland pacer

Blacks A Fake is arguably Australia's greatest ever pacer.

A winner of 72 races from 105 starts with over $4.5 million prizemoney, Blackie as he is affectionately known, now lives out his days as a rising 21-year-old in a paddock north of Brisbane.

In his heyday, the legend standardbred was known as one of the greatest pacers we have ever seen – a four-time Inter Dominion champion, being the only pacer ever to do so, as well as countless other marquee honours.

Ahead of the 2021 Group 1 $250,000 TAB Blacks A Fake, we paid a visit to Blackie to re-live his remarkable career and see how he's going in retirement.

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Bill and Cyndie Elson - Cyndie's Magic trainer and owner

Cyndie's Magic is one of the darlings of Queensland greyhound racing.

Her career was headlined by her stunning racing style, often get back to last in the run as she would rocket home to win on the line in scintillating fashion.

Now delivering as brood bitch, Cyndie’s Magic has added a unique quality to her career resume, now becoming a loving mother for her third and final litter.

The stalwarts of the greyhound industry have bred dozens of litters of dogs over the decades, but what is occurring with champion greyhound Cyndie’s Magic’s final litter is something that is completely out of the ordinary.

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Lance McDonald - Thoroughbred racing participant

Lance McDonald’s name will not appear in the race book or in the form guide for Saturday afternoon’s TAB Battle of the Bush Final at Eagle Farm.

For the team behind FNQ galloper Evil Eye Mac, although the McDonald name will not be front and centre like theirs is, they have made sure the stroke victim is there every step of the way with them along the journey.

As the best country horses from around Queensland descend on Brisbane, the tale behind Evil Eye Mac is a touching one of mateship and just displays how the racing industry brings people together from all walks of life.

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Off The Track Queensland

The Queensland Off-The-Track Board was established in 2020 and is governed by Racing Queensland and the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

It was established to operate and manage the QOTT Program and will be responsible for the policies, programs and reporting relating to the retirement of horses from racing and breeding activities.

Racing Queensland has taken a closer look at two former equine stars who are enjoying their new lives as off-the-track horses.

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Shirley Batten - Thoroughbred trainer

Even on the coldest, rainy mornings before the sun is even considering rising over the Gold Coast Turf Club, Shirley Batten is there smiling away.

One of the elder stateswomen of the Queensland racing industry, Batten is adored by all that neighbour her stables down at Aquis Park or those who come across her on a race day.

While those around her chase Group and Listed races over the TAB Queensland Winter Carnival, Batten - who turned 89 in May - is glad to be poking away with a horse or two.

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Pam O'Neill - Australia's first licenced female jockey

Pam O'Neill campaigned for more than a decade for the right to ride alongside her male counterparts, and was finally granted a licence in 1979 at the age of 34.

She went on to ride a treble on debut at the Gold Coast, despite failing to receive an allowance, as she became Australia’s first female jockey.

During a stellar riding career, O’Neill piloted upwards of 400 winners including a month-long stint in Japan in 1980 which landed her three winners.

Pam is one of Queensland racing’s most iconic figures, and is now immortalised with the naming of a new $150,000 Group 3 race named in her honour on Doomben Cup Day.

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Will Hulbert - Thoroughbred trainer

Will Hulbert and stable apprentice Adin Thompson are down at Nudgee Beach two or three times a week, walking their horses in the water, as well as getting them away from the hustle and bustle of a busy morning at Doomben or Eagle Farm.

In his youngest days around thoroughbred racehorses, Will recalls Australian Racing Hall of Famer Vo Rogue down at Nudgee Beach.

Since he has taken on the co-trainer duties with his father Peter, the younger Hulbert has followed that same path that champion Vo Rogue used throughout his stunning career all those decades ago.

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Kyle Wilson-Taylor - Apprentice jockey

From homeless just a few years ago to the new boom apprentice jockey in Queensland, Kyle Wilson-Taylor’s rise has been nothing short of astonishing.

The 21-year-old has shown remarkable drive and determination to lift himself from  couch surfing, to living on the street, and now set to take Brisbane metropolitan racing by storm in the coming months.

The mature and polished Wilson-Taylor could have quite easily gone down the same path of many of his friends and family in his teenage years that put his entire family “in trouble", however racing has been his saviour.

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Leah Handy - Greyhound Adoption Program administrator

Greyhound Adoption Program Queensland will host the 2021 GAP Greyhound National Adoption and Open Day this Sunday at its South East Queensland GAP facility at Churchable, and operations manager Leah Handy cannot wait to show off the retired race dogs they have at the facility.

Leah not only runs the programs in the Sunshine State, she literally lives and breathes it – alongside her family, living on-site at the GAP facility in Churchable, being available at all hours to tend to a greyhound if required.

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Erin Cameron - greyhound administrator and trainer

Just a few years ago, the volunteer-led Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club committee would ring around to Brisbane trainers begging them to race their dogs at the Club.

Now, into 2021 and over two years since the grass track has been converted to a full-fledged TAB club, circumstances at the track look a whole lot different.

Those down at the grass track in the south area of Brisbane believe one official went the extra mile to ensure the club was sustainable into the future - Erin Cameron.

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Travis Elson - greyhound trainer

In 2020, Travis Elson's kennel had one of the best strike rates in the state, ranking him as the fifth highest prize money earner in Queensland.

But the strike rate that is closest to his heart and much more significant in the broader context is how many of his dogs find a “forever home” following their racing career.

Elson is running at almost 100% in that regard with around 50 greyhounds that he previously raced eventually moving on to the Greyhound Adoption Program.

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Ann-Maree Harriott - Marburg Pacing Association

Ann-Maree is as devoted as they come to the Marburg Pacing Association, managing the canteen for the last 15 years.

Ever-reliable and committed to her role, Annie could have stepped aside for any number of valid reasons when her husband Graham, who was then MPA President, passed away almost a decade ago.

However, she took another path and focussed her energies, not only on the canteen, but involving her children and now a granddaughter, in the Association’s volunteer activities.

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Abbie Sweeper

Everything changed for the Sweeper family - daughter Abbie, father Russel and Mother Amanda – in July of 2019 while competing on her horse, Abbie fell and sustained brain and spinal cord damage, leaving her a ventilator dependent tetraplegic.

Since the tragic fall, the entire Queensland racing industry have wrapped their collective arms around Abbie, running fundraisers, winning races in her special colours and doing anything they can to help the family get through the current situation they face.

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Peter McMullen and Chantal Turpin - Driver & Trainer

Husband and wife trotting partnership Pete McMullen and Chantal Turpin have many a similarity but differ in one significant way.

They are both up at the crack of dawn every morning with the horses at their Patrick Estate property, then looking after and raising their daughters, before usually rushing off to the races.

They are on the hunt for winners almost every day of the week – hopefully a few feature races along the way.

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Barry Squair - Trainer

Nearing 81 years of age, Toowoomba horseman Barry Squair has been waiting his entire life for a horse like his beloved Love You Lucy.

In the twilight of his training career after decades as a premiership winning rider before that, the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes winner last year has come at the back of his illustrations career in the racing industry.

He no longer rides track work in the mornings but that does not mean the legend of Queensland racing is anywhere near retirement.

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Sarah Johnson - Nurse & Trainer

Sarah Johnson has had a love for Greyhound racing since she can remember and years later nothing has changed.

Sarah has also worked diligently as a nurses' aid for the Red Cross, taking life saving blood donations.

After she finishes work late at night - you'll find her at Albion Park helping out with the dogs. Sarah's story is one of thousands in the sunshine state, whose lives are brought together by the racing industry. 

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Melissa Kendall & Phil Chappenden - Owners & Trainers

Moreton Bay owners and trainers, Melissa Kendall and Phil Chappenden, stumbled upon harness racing by chance and before they knew it their passion became part of their livelihood.

By day, Melissa works as a Spinal and Brain Injury Researcher with Queensland Health while Phil works at a local landscape company and manages a produce store. 

Together with their son Zach, the 2020 BOTRA Young Drivers Champion, the couple run a small but successful team with 18 horses in work.

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Michael Landsberg - Owner & Research Scientist 

By day, Michael Landsberg leads a team of research scientists to better understand the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

Michael's research is really focused on understanding how infectious organisms like bacteria and viruses infect humans, often causing disease, and how our immune systems respond to those infections.

Michael is also an avid racing fan and previous participant, falling in love with the sport in a way that is familiar to many of us - watching the Melbourne Cup as a child.​

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