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Coral Coast Shield set to launch

The Coral Coast Shield will launch in 2020 with Central and North Queensland’s four biggest cities and their racing clubs set to go head-to-head over six action-packed weeks.
Earlier today, Racing Queensland announced the introduction of the new feature series, which will be staged across Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns during October and November before culminating in a thrilling Final at the Townsville Turf Club.

In total, 12 heats will be staged ahead of the Final on Saturday, November 28 with each city accruing points across the series.
Double points will go on offer at the Final, with almost $500,000 in prize money up for grabs across the series.
In addition, the winning city will secure $25,000 to go towards improving their patron or racing facilities, while each club will also boast a nominated charity partner which will share in a further $25,000.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the series had been designed to create a unique intra-state rivalry.
“The Coral Coast Shield is a fantastic addition to our racing calendar,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“It will bring a different dimension to racing with this new and exciting format.
“In years gone by, we have seen the way in which the North Queensland Games has been fiercely contested and we look forward to the Coral Coast Shield stoking the same fires of competition amongst four proud cities.”

In future years, the Final will rotate to the other cities with Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell suggesting the series would pit city against city, trainer against trainer and jockey against jockey.

“The Coral Coast Shield is an exciting concept,” Mr Parnell said.
“It’s also been an extremely challenging year, and through the charity component of the series, we will be able to give back to our regional communities where racing plays such a significant role on and off the track.”
The Coral Coast Shield will commence at the Rockhampton Jockey Club on Saturday, October 17 with the Beef City Cup headlining the day’s three feature races.
The series then moves to Cairns on November 1 for the Cape York Cup Open Handicap before Mackay hosts the Cane Country Cup Open Handicap on November 14.

Finally, Townsville will conclude the series with back-to-back meetings with the Castle Hill Cup Open Handicap on November 20 providing the perfect lead into the Final which features the Coral Coast Cup, the Coral Coast Lightning and the Queen of the Coast.

Having recently unveiled its new multi-million dollar re-development, Townsville Turf Club Chairman Mal Petrofski said Cluden Park would provide the perfect backdrop for the culmination of the series.

“Given the amount of uncertainty recently, it is incredible to think that industry participants, owners, patrons and also our charity of choice, Riding for the Disabled, now have the opportunity to participate in what promises to be a tremendous spectacle for thoroughbred racing in the North,” Mr Petrofski said.

“The new initiative by Racing Queensland rewards the dedication of industry participants in what has been a very unconventional year.

“To culminate with the Final of the Coral Coast Shield in Townsville is an opportunity to give back to the North Queensland community who have waited patiently to return to the track.”




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