This weekend’s Birdsville races are on today. The ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’ is set to field 84 entries across a 13-race program today (Sunday April 10) and Monday April 11.
The 139th edition of Outback Queensland’s richest race meeting has drawn trainers, jockeys and horses from places as far afield as Mackay (QLD) Strathalbyn (SA), Blackall (QLD) and Darwin (NT).
Mackay based trainer John Manzelman has brought a record 19 horses to the races, stating he “can’t wait to tick off the bucket list event.”
Travelling to Birdsville will be the longest distance that Manzelman has ever travelled for a race meet.
“We often take as many as 19 horses on the road, but have previously only been as far as Cooktown and Mt Isa.
“So Birdsville is definitely the furtherest we’ve ever travelled to race.
“We’re all really looking forward to it, and hope to be back out again for the September Races.
“The Birdsville Races have been on my bucket list for a while now so we’re looking forward to being part of it,” said John Manzelman.
Asked what he was looking forward to the most Manzelman responded, “I hope it’s winning.”
Manzelman will field starters across all but two of the carnival’s 13-race card, with two horses in contention for the headline 1600m Birdsville Cup – which this year offers a record $42,000 prize-purse.
Manzelman will also start six of the field of seven in the RFDS QTIS Maiden Plate on Sunday.
Manzelman is followed by Barcaldine (QLD) trainer Todd Austin with 13 acceptances and Blackall (QLD) trainer-jockey David Rewald with 11 acceptances.
Austin has attended more than 30 Birdsville Races as both a jockey and a trainer since he was a young boy. He won the Birdsville Cup in 2013 with Primed and again in 2019 with French Hussler.
“Our April races do have a smaller number of acceptances, so the odds are in the favour of this field of trainers to do very well this weekend, and again in September if they return – which we hear many of them are planning to do.
“September will have a bumper field and we’re very pleased with the additional support from trainers and owners for these special April races.
“It’s exciting to be heading back to the Birdsville racetrack after cancellations and postponements because of Covid across the last few years,” said Gary Brook, Vice President, Birdsville Race Club.
The April 2022 Birdsville Races is offering a record combined prize-purse of $262,500 across the two days of racing.
The bonuses offered to trainers across both editions of the April and September 2022 Birdsville Races are also believed to be the biggest in the history of Country racing in Queensland.
If a trainer wins both the April and September 2022 Birdsville Cup races they will receive up to $15,000 in bonuses.
Winning the $15,000 trainers’ bonus across both the April and September events is the equivalent to the trainer’s percentage of winning 25 races normal race wins in Outback Queensland.
The breakdown of this bonus prize money is:
- The trainer who wins the September 2022 TAB Birdsville Cup will receive an additional $5,000 pay day if they had a starter in the April meeting, and another $5,000 on top of this if they achieved a double and won the Cup in April as well.
- Another $5,000 will be payable if the same horse, trained by the same trainer, wins both TAB Birdsville Cup races.
- The additional prize money will be offered by Racing Queensland, while the fuel levy will be paid by the Birdsville Race Club.
In addition, a special new $2000 trainers bonus will also be offered to any trainer that trains a double in April.
An additional $2,000 bonus will also be paid if a trainer wins both feature races – the 1200m Lyndhurst Stud Open Handicap on Sunday 10 April 2022, and the 1600m Birdsville Cup on Monday 11 April 2022.
The Club has also increased travel rebates to trainers and jockeys to record levels.
Punters across Australia will be able to experience all action from the Birdsville races from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to a renewed national telecast deal with Sky Racing. The partnership will see the full 13-race line-up televised into homes nationally on Sky Channel.