Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Country racing support takes off for Royal Flying Doctor Service

1 March 2024

Share this page

Share on a platform

Or copy the page link

Racing Queensland’s partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) has reached new heights with the Country Cups Challenge fundraising $116,810 throughout 2023 for the iconic health service. 

Following a successful first year of the partnership in 2022, the Country Cups Challenge again served as an important fundraising initiative for the RFDS, which has been saving lives in rural and remote Queensland for more than 95 years.

With $113,560 raised in 2022, last year’s fundraising efforts brings the total to $230,370 over the first two years of the partnership. 

In total,16 qualifiers were staged across the state, serving as important fundraising opportunities with the provision of donation tins, raffles, and other raceday-related activities. 

The qualifiers were run from late September, culminating in the Final at Doomben on Saturday December 2, which was taken out by the Olivia Cairns-trained Fire King. 

Racing Minister Grace Grace said she was proud to see the Queensland racing industry raising funds for such an important cause. 

“With so many of our 122 racing clubs across Queensland located in regional and remote areas, the RFDS plays a vital role in so many of these communities,” Minister Grace said. 

“Across the Sunshine State, there are 85 towns each year who host a raceday as the town’s biggest or second biggest event, with more than 80% of the state’s 49,786 racing participants located in regional communities. 

“The Country Cups Challenge and the Royal Flying Doctor Service are a perfect pairing, and the Miles Government is proud to continue supporting the RFDS alongside our country racing clubs, who are the lifeblood of the sport.” 

The participating clubs in 2023 included: 

  • Longreach Jockey Club;
  • Dawson Jockey Club (Taroom);
  • Mount Isa Race Club;
  • Eidsvold Race Club;
  • Tara Race Club;
  • Gordonvale Turf Club;
  • Cloncurry & District Race Club;
  • Emerald Jockey Club;
  • Bowen Turf Club;
  • Barcoo Amateur Race Club (Blackall);
  • Innisfail Turf Club;
  • South Burnett Race Club (Wondai);
  • Yeppoon Turf Club;
  • Burdekin Race Club (Home Hill);
  • Central Warrego Race Club (Charleville);
  • Roma Turf Club; and
  • Brisbane Race Club (Doomben).

In Queensland, the RFDS provides healthcare services over an area of 1.73 million square kilometres. 

They operate a fleet of 22 aeromedical aircraft from nine strategically located bases across the State – Cairns, Townsville, Mount Isa, Charleville, Longreach, Roma, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, and Brisbane. 

RFDS (Queensland Section) Acting Executive General Manager Fundraising and Philanthropy Sebastien Krantz said the success of the 2023 Country Cups Challenge was felt in a positive way across the state. 

“Many regional and remote Queenslanders are passionate about both horse racing and the RFDS, and it's fantastic to see money raised from the event go towards positive health outcomes in these communities," Mr Krantz said. 

“We are rapt to continue our relationship with Racing Queensland and look forward to another successful year in 2024.”

In the last year alone, the RFDS provided more than 219 occasions of care across Queensland each day, via aeromedical retrieval and patient transfers, and primary health care services such as GP, nurse and vaccination clinics, telehealth youth, remote and regional mental health, and the RFDS mobile dental service. 

This included more than 12,500 patients transferred via the RFDS aeromedical service. 

Click here for more information on the Royal Flying Doctor Service.