Carnival is off and racing

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By Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer BRENDAN PARNELL

The TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival officially commenced last month, with two Listed races – the Brisbane Young Guns and Carnival Chase – setting the scene for what is set to be a stellar few months of chasing at Albion Park.

Tony Brett’s rising star, Orchestrate, put his name up in lights as one to watch across the Winter Carnival, taking out the Young Guns Final in dominant fashion.

Ninetymile King for Bianca Whitford made it an eighth win in nine starts, in a thrilling finish to the Carnival Chase, as a step-up in distance to 700 metres becomes the next steppingstone.

Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival launch

It was a pleasure to be at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club last month to officially launch the Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival, alongside a number of industry participants and media representatives.

As part of the launch, Tony Brett and Mick Zammit provided some wonderful insight into the industry, and the prospects they will have flying the flag for their respective kennels across the Winter Carnival.

With a tantalising program featuring some of the nation’s biggest Group races, Queensland is destined to become the place to chase this winter.

Headlined by the $375,000 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup, this year\’s Winter Carnival offers $1.3 million in prizemoney and includes a dozen Group and Listed races.

I look forward to watching another brilliant Winter Carnival unfold here in the Sunshine State and thank Luke Gatehouse and his team for their support.

GBGC update

The Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre continues to progress through the planning approval process which will determine the final design.

RQ is preparing to launch a comprehensive community consultation program where we will seek engagement with the multitude of project stakeholders.

We aim to deliver a world-class racing facility and we want the community to be part of the process and to be part of what we ultimately deliver at the Yamanto site.

Community consultation is an integral part of the planning application process and it will provide the local community and other project stakeholders with the opportunity to contribute.

I am also pleased to confirm that the University of Technology is progressing with its evaluation of the track plans.

As previously advised, there will be three forms of racing at the Centre: a straight track, a traditional two-turn track similar to Albion Park, and a larger one turn track.

The UTS has been engaged to review the track plans and to provide guidance to final design specifically through the race safety lens.

Following consideration of the UTS advice, RQ will again consult with industry stakeholders.

Rockhampton rail replacement

The Rockhampton Greyhound Racing Club rail replacement is well and truly underway, with a return to racing set for late June.

Simultaneous to the rail work, the track irrigation system will be upgraded and the racing surface renovated.

Furthermore, I am pleased to announce that the Rockhampton lure tower will also be replaced, with preliminary work underway to ensure that the upgraded facility will be operational in July.

Importantly, this will allow for the camera operator to work from the new tower, delivering a huge improvement in the broadcast vision.

Ipswich Sweepstakes

Congratulations to the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club and chief organiser, Di O’Donnell, on their successful Racing Greyhound Sweepstakes at the Ipswich Show last month.

In total, 36 greyhounds were exhibited with a huge crowd in attendance over the weekend, with overwhelmingly positive feedback coming from participants and spectators.

It was great to also see the Greyhound Adoption Program in attendance across the three days. GAP do an amazing job rehoming retired racers to loving families.

The sweepstakes concept presents a great opportunity to promote the greyhound breed to the wider community, and the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club are to be commended for their efforts.

Vale to two industry greats

Finally, it’s with great sadness that we lost two giants of the Queensland greyhound racing industry last month in Michael Stephenson and Keith Sternberg.

Michael Stephenson sadly passed away following a heart attack, and will be remembered by the wider greyhound community as a knockabout larrikin trainer who had time for everyone in the industry.

The man known as ‘Tricky’ was lifelong greyhound participant, training countless winners over the years, but his pride and joy was Hara’s Panda who last year gave him his first Group winner after almost 50 years in the sport, claiming the Group 3 Townsville Cup.

We also lost a man of the people in Keith Sternberg, who at age 92, was still catching greyhounds for his great mate Tony Brett.

Keith spent the last 18 years of his life devoting his time to helping the Brett kennel, as well as contributing to the success of his local club, Ipswich.

On behalf of everyone at Racing Queensland, I pass on my most sincere condolences to both families.

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