The Brisbane Racing Club is confident it has made the right decision in transferring the Grand Prix Stakes to the summer and hopes the race will eventually fill the same role as Sydney’s Spring Champion Stakes.
The BRC and Racing Queensland announced on Monday a raft of changes to the summer carnival which included moving the Grand Prix to December 21.
It will receive a prize money boost to $250,000 and double as the final of the Queensland Three-Year-Old Stayers Series.
The move has been much discussed because the Group Three Grand Prix has traditionally been run in the winter carnival and was first won by champion Queensland mare Mode in 1971.
It was designed as a type of grand final for horses which ran in the Queensland Derby and Oaks.
Some of its early winners included champion horses such as Balmerino, Surround and Kingston Town but in recent years the standard has dropped away.
BRC Racing Manager Matt Rudolph said the decision to move the race came after lengthy discussion and he was confident it was the right one.
“The rise in standard of the Rough Habit Plate in the winter has pushed the Grand Prix into the background as a Derby and Oaks lead-up,” Rudolph said.
“The Champion Stakes in the Sydney spring serves the purpose of letting owners and trainers know if they have an Australian Derby hopeful.
“In the same way we want the Grand Prix to be the early guide to Queensland Derby and Oaks horses.”