Plenty of highlights so far in Winter Carnival

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By Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer BRENDAN PARNELL

The TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival is well and truly underway and already we have seen thrilling chasing hit the track at Albion Park.

It was fantastic to see so many patrons on-course to support the hugely popular TAB Greyhound Origin Series, with fans decked out in their maroon and baby blue to cheer on their respective states.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for our Queenslanders this year, with the Match Race won by Jungle Deuce breaking the deadlock for NSW after Tony Brett’s rising star Orchestrate claimed the Sprint for the Maroons, and the Distance won by Barsandi for the Blues.

Earlier in the Carnival, the Flying Amy and Dashing Corsair headlined a great start to the campaign, with turnover reached $4.4 million for the meeting.

We now look forward to July 8, where the Carnival reaches a crescendo with one of Australian greyhound racing’s biggest nights.

The $150,000 Group 1 TAB Queensland Cup joins the centrepiece of the Carnival, the $375,000 Group 1 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup on what will no doubt be the highlight of Queensland’s winter racing.

RQ welcomes Queensland Government investment

Last month, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that $41.3 million would be returned to the industry over the next two years from Point of Consumption Tax receipts.

The new funding is in addition to the renewal of the Country Racing Program which provides $35.2 million over the next two years in prizemoney and infrastructure repairs and maintenance for non-TAB racing clubs.

At the start of this year, RQ commenced rolling out its own $15.5 million Industry Investment Plan, which has helped deliver increased prizemoney and payments to jockeys and drivers, along with infrastructure grants and higher club payments.

This funding announcement ensures that many of these programs are able to continue, with items such as the training track subsidy scheme – and industry viability funding for greyhound and harness racing – expiring on June 30.

RQ to alter Minimum Bet Limits

As you may already be aware, Racing Queensland has officially altered its Minimum Bet Limits with Wagering Service Providers.

As of July 1, Queensland has become the first state to have no timing restrictions on MBLs across all three codes.

Queensland thoroughbred markets are typically framed two to three days prior to meetings, with harness and greyhound markets opening the day before meetings.

However, under the previous General Conditions, MBLs only apply from 9am on the day of a thoroughbred meeting – and 2pm for night meetings – and one hour before the first race of each respective greyhound and harness meeting.

Ongoing feedback from punters was that the existing timing restrictions should be removed and each way punters for greyhound and harness racing should be accommodated.

The introduction of Minimum Bet Limits has been well received by punters in Queensland and we anticipate that they will welcome the opportunity to access them from the moment the markets open.

Overall MBL liability amounts remain unchanged and RQ continues to work closely with WSPs and does not anticipate that the up-coming changes will alter the existing way in which markets are released.

21/22 Group race overview

Following a review of Queensland’s feature racing calendar, a number of changes have been made effective immediately.

The Townsville Cup has shifted from late August to early September to avoid clashing with Million Dollar Chase qualifiers at Lismore and Casino.

We are pleased to work with the Club to increase the prizemoney for the Townsville Cup from $37,500 to $60,000 for 2021 edition, with a view to ultimately progress to Group 3 status by 2023.

The Capalaba Cup will move from March, 2022, to October, 2021, so to avoid the summer wet season, and as a result, the Bundaberg Cup will take the March, 2022, slot to avoid any clash.

Finally, cooperative discussions with Greyhound Racing Victoria and other jurisdictions have reduced the level of events that would possibly compete for nominations against our races in both the TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival and TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival.

NAIDOC Week celebrations

This month, Racing Queensland will continue to celebrate NAIDOC Week with a range of activities planned across our three codes throughout the state.

NAIDOC Week plays a pivotal role in Australia each year; providing an opportunity for all of us to recognise – and reflect – on the fact that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.

For the greyhound code, the running of the NAIDOC Celebration Chase will be held at the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club on July 11, celebrating our Indigenous culture through ceremonial aspects including a Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremony.

We will stage a similar event at the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club on July 4 as well as at Townsville’s Cluden Park on July 6.

As a sport, racing has long understood the power it possesses to unite communities and engender hope across Queensland.

We are constantly striving to create respectful relationships and to provide enhanced opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – and businesses – to become involved in the Queensland racing industry.

You can read more about RQ’s celebration of NAIDOC Week, as well as our Reconciliation Action Plan on our website.

Infrastructure update

The Rockhampton Greyhound Racing Club is officially back open and racing, following the replacement of the running rail last month.

We are now looking to finalise the timelines for the replacement of the Bundaberg running rail, with works currently anticipated to commence in August.

Progress on the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre continues with community consultation, a key component of the planning approval process, now in full swing.

Concept planning continues with Cox Architects, whilst Professor David Eager and other consultants continue to refine the racetrack designs.

We will then be looking to host an industry participant briefing on the track plans in the near future.

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