An incredible $350,000 in bonuses for the TAB Queensland Northern Crowns Series will go on the line on Saturday at the FNQ Amateurs in Cairns.
First introduced last year, the Northern Crowns Series offers a $150,000 bonus to any horse that can secure three of the five staying races held across Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and FNQ Amateurs.
The stayers’ bonus swells to $200,000 should one of the three wins includes the FNQ Amateurs Cup.
The incentive scheme is mirrored for sprinters with a $100,000 bonus initially on offer, which rises to $150,000 if victory includes Saturday’s Cairns Amateurs Open Sprint.
Leading into the weekend, The Harrovian can pocket the stayers’ bonus on his home track after producing back-to-back wins in the Townsville Cup and the Cairns Cup.
Rockhampton gelding Mr Attitude will chase the sprinters’ bonus after saluting in the Mackay Newmarket and the Cleveland Bay Handicap in Townsville.
“It’s fantastic to have both bonuses up for grabs as part of the Northern Crowns,” RQ COO Adam Wallish said.
“We wanted to incentive participants to campaign right throughout the Northern Crowns Series, whilst providing a Grand Final of sorts at the Amateurs and that’s exactly what has occurred.
“Both geldings look like live prospects so it will only add to the excitement of the Amateurs.”
In the $150,000 FNQ Amateur Cup, The Harrovian will be installed as one of the favourites, with pundits believing the Stephen Massingham-trained local hope is among the horses to beat despite incurring a two-and-a-half kilogram penalty following his win in the Cairns Cup.
“I’m not concerned he hasn’t race for five weeks as he’s been working strongly,” Massingham said.
“He had a good strong gallop on the course proper here on Saturday morning and another one on the course proper on Tuesday morning.
“There’s a knack to training this horse as he’s a big strong bloke and I think he can win.”
In the $75,000 Cairns Amateurs Open Sprint, Mr Attitude has drawn barrier eight and will saddle 59.5 kilograms.
Saturday’s 1400m Handicap will mark Mr Attitude’s second and final attempt at the sprinters’ bonus after finishing 10th in the Cairns Newmarket last month.
“Our TAB business is closely linked to Australian communities and we’re pleased to see the fantastic incentive scheme on offer throughout the TAB Queensland Northern Crowns Series,” Tabcorp Head of Wagering – Queensland, Sean Scott said.
“Tabcorp’s businesses are the biggest financial supporters of racing in Australia, last financial year we returned $1 billion to the Australian racing industry.
“Those not able to make it to Cairns for the FNQ Amateurs this weekend can tune into Sky Racing for all the racing action.”
The FNQ Amateurs commences in Cairns tomorrow with a seven-race program before an additional eight races on Saturday.