A new and improved winter harness racing carnival will be re-branded the ‘TAB Queensland Constellations’ in 2020 featuring 10 Group 1s and more than $2 million in prize money and bonuses.
Having previously announced the launch of the $250,000 Rising Sun - the richest harness race in the Southern Hemisphere for three and four-year-old pacers – the Queensland Constellations has been turbo-charged with a raft of new initiatives.
During June and July, the Sunshine State will host five electrifying meetings under lights, with Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe among those looking forward to the new-look carnival.
“The TAB Queensland Constellations is an exciting initiative for Australasia’s shooting stars,” he said.
“With 10 Group 1s, the introduction of the Rising Sun and a season-ending Grand Circuit feature courtesy of the TAB Blacks A Fake, Queensland will be in the spotlight this winter.”
With eight Group 1 races in 2019, the addition of the Rising Sun and the reallocation of the DJA Trotting Championship from its summer timeslot has swollen this year’s tally to double figures.
In an exciting new addition, TAB will sponsor $10,000 Sunshine Starters bonuses to any winners of the following features who contest the Queensland Derby, Queensland Oaks, Rising Sun or Blacks A Fake. They are:
- 2019 Inter Dominion
- 2020 Victoria Derby
- 2020 Victoria Oaks
- 2020 4YO Bonanza
- 2020 Hunter Cup
- 2020 NSW Derby
- 2020 NSW Oaks
- 2020 Chariots Of Fire
- 2020 Miracle Mile.
In addition, TAB will also provide a $100,000 bonus to any three-year-old horse that can salute in the Rising Sun.
“TAB is proud to back Queensland harness racing and is thrilled to be sponsoring the TAB Queensland Constellations,” Tabcorp Head of Wagering – Queensland, Sean Scott said.
“It’s great to see innovation in racing and this new-look carnival brings together exciting Group 1 racing and new bonuses for participants.
“It’s something we think harness racing fans and participants can really get behind.”
For a successive year, black-type racing will commence on the Peninsula with heats for the Group 1 Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale 2YO Final being staged on June 19.
A victor will be crowned the following week, with the Group 2 Redcliffe Cup helping anchor the feature night.
"The Redcliffe feature night provides the perfect platform to launch the TAB Queensland Constellations," Redcliffe President Bernie Ring said.
"The Redcliffe Cup is among the highlights on the Queensland harness racing calendar, and with Group 1 racing also on the card, we're looking forward to a bigger and better 2020.”
The action then transfers to Albion Park with three successive weeks of Group 1 racing commencing with the Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint on July 11.
The Rising Sun, TAB Queensland Oaks and DJA Trotting Championship headline the July 18 meeting before culminating with five Group 1s on July 25 including the $250,000 Blacks A Fake.
“A new era begins with this year’s harness racing carnival,” Albion Park chairman David Fowler said.
“The inaugural Rising Sun gives Queensland a point of difference alongside our established Grand Circuit Blacks A Fake.
“Who would have thought we would host two $250,000 races at our Carnival alongside such a wide range of features? The new branding and the Sunshine Starters bonus further add to the innovative approach to the Carnival.”