Winter prize boost to heat up carnival
RACING Queensland will on Thursday announce prizemoney increases of $1.7 million for this year's winter carnival, where Eagle Farm will host three of the six Group 1 meetings.
A total of $18.4 million will be distributed across the carnival, with Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell hoping the lift will secure Queensland's reputation as the nursery for Australian racing's future stars, like The Autumn Sun, as well as enticing established star sprinters like last year's Group 1-winning trio English, Impending and Santa Ana Lane.
The Toowoomba Weetwood on April 4 kickstarts three months of feature race action.
The Doomben 10,000 (Doomben, May 11) will increase to $800,000, bringing Queensland's sprinting Group 1 Triple Crown to a total of $3 million.
The Doomben Cup ($700,000) will again be run a week after the 10,000, before Group 1 action switches across the road to Eagle Farm for the $700,000 Kingsford Smith Cup on May 25.
With the latest reincarnation of Eagle Farm still in its infancy, the decision was made to run the Queensland Oaks meeting (June 1) at Doomben, protecting Eagle Farm from three straight Saturdays.
The $1.5 million Stradbroke (June 8) will return to Eagle Farm in 2019 after being held at Doomben in three of the past four years.
The two-year-old component of the carnival now comprises $2 million, with the Sires boosted to $400,000 and Champagne Classic $200,000.
This follows the earlier announcement that the Gold Coast's Hollindale Stakes (May 4) has been boosted to $500,000 as the club bids for its first Group 1 race at Aquis Park.
The Hollindale leads into races like the Doomben Cup, O'Shea Stakes ($400,000) and Brisbane Cup ($400,000), which will also have prizemoney injections this year.
The Ipswich Cup is on June 15 before the Group 1 Tatt's Tiara returns to Eagle Farm on June 22.