$2m Straddie spearheads rich Brisbane winter carnival

 

Trainer Natalie McCall with River Lad after he won the Stradbroke Handicap this year. Pic

Trainer Natalie McCall with River Lad after he won the Stradbroke Handicap this year. Picture: Mark Cranitch Source: News Corp Australia

 

BRISBANE will have its first $2 million race as part of a new-look and condensed Queensland Winter Racing Carnival next year. 

Racing Queensland have lifted prizemoney for the Stradbroke to $2 million and all other Group 1 races will be run for a minimum of $500,000.

The Stradbroke will now sit alongside the Magic Millions 2YO Classic as the richest races run in Queensland and one of the top 10 most lucrative in Australia.

“This puts the Stradbroke behind only the ($2.5 million) TJ Smith as the richest sprint in the country,” Racing Queensland chairman Kevin Dixon said, before confirming the race will be run at Doomben next year if Eagle Farm is not ready for racing.

“But we have also lifted all other Group 1 races in Queensland to a minimum of $500,000, which puts us ahead of a number of Group 1 races run in both New South Wales and Victoria.

“Stakes races will also rise to a minimum $100,000 during the carnival as well.”

After consultation with all of the southeast Queensland clubs, Racing Queensland has locked in its 2015 dates, with the carnival set to kick off at the Gold Coast on April 25.

This meeting, spearheaded by the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes, will carry nine stakes races, including the Group 2 Victory Stakes, which has previously been held at Eagle Farm.

Doomben Cup Day has been abolished, with the Group 1 2020m feature switching to BTC Cup Day and receiving a price hike to $650,000.

The most controversial change will be the elevation of Toowoomba’s $150,000 Weetwood to a stand-alone Saturday, on May 2.

“By doing this, it gives us a two-week break between the important lead-up races run at the Gold Coast into the BTC Cup and Doomben Cup on May 9,” Dixon said.

“We have also strengthened the Toowoomba meeting by relocating the Listed Dalrello Stakes and the introduction of the $75,000 Toowoomba Guineas, to sit alongside the Weetwood and Cup.”

The changes have been submitted to the Australian Pattern Committee for approval.

Caloundra’s Cup meeting moves forward to May 16 and has been boosted by the addition of two Listed races previously run at Doomben, the Hampden (2YO) and Chief De Beers.

Damien Oliver returns to scale after River Lad’s victory in the Straddie. Picture: Tara C

Damien Oliver returns to scale after River Lad’s victory in the Straddie. Picture: Tara Croser Source: News Corp Australia

 

The Ipswich Cup and Tattersalls’ meeting stay in their current spot after the June 6 Stradbroke.

“This new look carnival caters for the entire southeast Queensland region and with the increased prizemoney on offer should prove irresistible to all of the top stables in Australia,” Racing Minister Steve Dickson said.

The new look carnival comes on the back of Evergreen Turf, who have done the new surfaces at Pakenham and Hawkesbury, winning the tender for the $10 million upgrade of Eagle Farm.

“The new racing surface is designed to ensure racing continues under extreme weather events. The improved cambering of the track will also significantly enhance its racing performance,” RQ Chief Executive Darren Condon said.

Prizemoney increases for both greyhound and harness features will be made within the next month.

Next year’s Stradbroke Handicap will have its prizemoney increased to $2 million. Picture

Next year’s Stradbroke Handicap will have its prizemoney increased to $2 million. Picture: Mark Cranitch Source: News Corp Australia

 

KEY CHANGES

$2 million STRADBROKE

Doomben 10,000 to $750,000, Doomben Cup to $650,000, Queensland Derby, J.J. Atkins to $600,000. All other G1 races minimum $500,000

All Stakes races worth a minimum of $100,000.

Gold Coast, with nine stakes races, including the G2 Victory Stakes, kicks off the carnival on April 25.

Brisbane Racing Club reduces from five to four days of Group 1 racing

Toowoomba takes its place in the carnival on Saturday, May 2

Caloundra moves forward in the carnival to May 16

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby  http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/m-straddie-spearheads-rich-brisbane-winter-carnival/story-fnii0njy-1227100351344

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