Boost for Queensland summer carnival

brendan parnell
RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell and BRC chairman Neville Bell have announced summer changes.

Eagle Farm racetrack will return to full operation to head a revitalised Queensland summer carnival.

In a joint statement on Monday, Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club released details of the nine-week carnival which will include 22 black-type races and improved prize money.

Officials are hoping the fact Eagle Farm, which has been operating on a limited basis for five years, will be in full swing will help lure southern horses.

Eagle Farm gets its chance to shine through the summer with three consecutive Saturdays headed by a new race, the winner of which will be exempt from the ballot for the 2020 Group One Stradbroke Handicap.

The race is the $250,000 The Gateway on December 14 and will be restricted to four-year-olds.

In the other major move, the Group Three Grand Prix Stakes, which has been run in the winter for 47 years, will switch to the summer.

It will now be worth $250,000 and be the final of the three-year-old stayers’ series.

Other races to be run at Eagle Farm to receive prize money hikes include the $250,000 B J McLachlan Stakes, the $200,000 Nudgee Stakes, and the $300,000 Vo Rogue Stakes.

Eagle Farm will host a meeting on December 28 which will feature four wild card races ensuring entry to Magic Millions feature races.

The summer carnival will start at the Sunshine Coast on November 16.

The biggest day will be the $10 million race day for Magic Millions on January 11 at the Gold Coast.

The annual jockeys State of Origin series will be held over two days on December 13/14.

BRC chairman Neville Bell said it was an exciting time for racing in Queensland.

“The carnival should be perfect for southern horses who miss the spring or are getting ready for the autumn,” he said.

RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell said a lot of hard work and planning had gone into what would be a great advertisement for Queensland racing.

“But we haven’t finished just yet and we look forward to sharing more with the racing public in the weeks ahead,” he said.