Gold Coast Turf Club wins in Racing Queensland proposal to cut winter carnival from 14 weeks to nine

The $175,000 Victory Stakes would move from Eagle Farm to the Gold Coast under a new Raci

The $175,000 Victory Stakes would move from Eagle Farm to the Gold Coast under a new Racing Queensland shake-up of Winter Carnival season Picture: Darren England.

RACING Queensland is set to revolutionise its winter carnival next year by shaving five weeks of the state’s showcase racing event.

In a bid to “create a more compelling racing product’’, the Queensland winter carnival will be cut from 14 to nine weeks next year if the state’s major racing clubs accept an RQ proposal.

The winter carnival offic­ially started on April 12 this year at Toowoomba and finished at Eagle Farm on July 12 with a meeting that featured one Listed race.

The constant criticism of the carnival is it’s too long and RQ has listened. If its plan is agreed upon the winter carnival will run from April 25 to June 20 next year, trimming two low-key meetings at both the start and end of the carnival.

It is also proposed to remove the Doomben Cup day meeting from the calendar.

The Gold Coast Turf Club is set to pick up the $175,000 Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m), delivering the local club with a much-needed weight-for-age sprint that may attract some of Australia’s best sprinters.

RQ has sent out two proposals to the state’s major racing clubs detailing possible changes to next year’s carnival.

Major changes tabled in “Proposal 1’’ include:

■ The Queensland winter carnival to be reduced from 14 to nine weeks.

■ BTC Cup day at Doomben to officially start the carnival on April 25.

■ Doomben Cup day, held on May 17 this year, to be removed from the calendar. The Group 1 Doomben Cup to be run on the same day as the Group 1 BTC Cup on April 25, while other stakes races from the lost day will be spread out over the ­carnival.

■ The Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) to move from late June to Queensland Oaks day on May 30. However, the Tattersall’s Racing Club will fight to keep this race on its own race day on June 20.

■ The Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) to move from Eagle Farm to the Gold Coast.

■ Toowoomba’s feature meeting, Weetwood Handicap day, to move from early April to the second meeting of the winter carnival on May 2. The day meeting is set to include the Toowoomba Cup, which has been held in June in the past two years.

■ Sunshine Coast’s feature meeting, Caloundra Cup day, to move from late June to May 16, the fourth meeting of the carnival.

“Proposal 2” is similar but has the Gold Coast’s Prime Minister’s Cup day kicking off the carnival on April 25 instead of May 9 and BTC Cup day on May 9 instead of April 25.

It means the Gold Coast’s sole winter carnival meeting is likely to either move forward or back one week from its current timeslot.

The Toowoomba club is set to be the big winner if either proposal is accepted.

Unlike in recent years, the Weetwood Handicap day will now become an integral part of the winter carnival.

“That was the point of going back to the grass track so we can become part of the winter carnival properly,” Toowoomba Turf Club chairman Bob Frappell said, referring to the switch to turf from a cushion surface last season.

“We’re not sure which proposal they will accept but any of them will be a much better position than where we are.”

The Brisbane Racing Club would be the big loser, with Doomben Cup day and Victory Stakes day axed. The proposed changes are yet to approved by the RQ board.

Story courtesy


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