Stage set for spectacular Golden Greys Carnival

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By Racing Qld CEO BRENDAN PARNELL

The stage is set for the 2020/21 TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival.

Featuring six black-type events across nine weeks, the Golden Greys will once again provide feature racing for sprinters, middle distance types, stayers, and age-restricted greyhounds at Albion Park this summer.

With heats of the Queensland Derby and Bogie Leigh Futurity commencing proceedings on December 3, the Summer Carnival reaches a thrilling conclusion on February 4 with the Group 1 Gold Bullion and Listed Gold Cup.

After the success of last year’s inaugural Summer Carnival, the Golden Greys has been tweaked slightly to ensure the Gold Bullion and Gold Cup now sit between the Paws of Thunder Carnival at Wentworth Park and the Australian Cup Carnival at the Meadows.

Given the quality of last year’s fields, including Sennachie’s sizzling victory in the Gold Bullion Final, it promises to be another must-watch affair.

The Golden Greys Summer Carnival details include:

  • Queensland Derby 520m Group 2 ($60,000) – Heats December 3, Final December 10;
  • Bogie Leigh Futurity 520m Group 2 ($60,000) – Heats December 3, Final December 10;
  • Golden Sands 600m Group 2 ($60,000) – Heats December 31, Final January 7;
  • Golden Ticket 520m Group 3 ($47,250) – Heats January 14, Final January 21;
  • Gold Bullion 520m Group 1 ($235,000) – Heats January 28, Final February 4; and
  • Gold Cup 710m Listed ($113,000) – Heats January 28, Final February 4.

The Group 3 Golden Ticket will once again prove an ideal lead-in to the Gold Bullion, with the winner receiving automatic entry into the $235,000 Final.

The heats of the Golden Ticket will be conducted as four-dog shootouts, with the Final conducted as two-dog match races.

In the lead-up to the Country Cup Finals, heats will be staged in Townsville, Rockhampton, and Bundaberg.

RQ celebrates NAIDOC Week

The Queensland racing industry took an important step last month by celebrating NAIDOC Week as part of its commitment to strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

To mark the occasion, RQ introduced the inaugural running of the NAIDOC Celebration Race, Pace and Chase.

Each showcase meeting featured Indigenous ceremonial aspects including a Welcome to Country; Smoking Ceremony; and a didgeridoo player.

Participants were also able to be directly involved through specially commissioned handlers and strappers’ bibs, saddle cloths, harness helmet covers, harness colours and winners’ presentation rugs.

Earlier this year, RQ submitted its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan to Reconciliation Australia, which was recently endorsed.

Over the next 12 months, RQ will use its RAP to formally embark on the journey of reconciliation.

The RAP will provide the foundation for RQ to build trust and strengthen relationships both internally and externally; deepen its understanding and respect for First People’s rich history, cultures and achievements; and to promote sustainable partnerships and opportunities with local communities.

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

In addition to being one of Queensland’s largest employers – providing more than 12,500 full-time jobs – our racing clubs and racecourses serve as important social hubs from Cooktown to Stanthorpe and everywhere in between.

And as we continue to operate, we are constantly striving to create respectful relationships and to provide enhanced opportunities for Indigenous peoples and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to become involved in the Queensland racing industry.

The launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan is an important step in that journey.

At present, 12.5% of Queensland apprentices identify as Indigenous, with RQ looking to provide further opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Animal welfare strategy

RQ’s animal welfare strategy is currently being finalised with industry consultation underway.

Our current draft has been socialised with clubs – and with the Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association – with some extremely constructive input received to date.

We look forward to sharing more of this with you in the New Year.

New meetings continue to find their stride

Finally, encouraging progress continues to be made through the additional racing opportunities introduced at Townsville and Capalaba.

Earlier this year, an additional racing meeting was introduced at Townsville in July, with the second meeting now alternating between Fridays and Saturday mornings.

During the Spring Racing Carnival period, some of the Saturday morning meetings have seen kennelling commencing from 6.30am.

Nonetheless, participants have rallied to the cause, and to date, the industry has managed to achieve solid wagering outcomes.

From November 18, the second Capalaba meeting on a fortnight basis has shifted to Wednesdays in a bid to better synchronise opportunities for the straight specialists.

With the festive season upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the entire Queensland racing industry a safe and merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Let’s hope that 2021 is our best year yet.

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