Queensland’s richest race could be worth even more to the winner this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with a first-prize increase to $1 million being considered for the Stradbroke Handicap 2013.
The jewel on the Brisbane winter racing crown, the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) has previously been worth a total of one million in overall stakes with $640,000 going to the winner.
For this year’s edition, due to run at Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 8 along with the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m), officials are looking to increase the winners’ cheque to a juicy $1 million with placegetter dividends to remain the same.
The $360,000 boost would be allocated as part of an overall $2 million additional allocation to Queensland racing this season which will be balanced out between smaller features and the state’s most lucrative sprint showdown.
“It is Queensland’s most time-honoured race and we need to ensure it remains one of the most important on the Australian racing calendar,” Racing Queensland chairman Kevin Dixon said.
Host to a quality line-up of elite level features, the Queensland Winter Carnival often plays second-fiddle to international races that can be worth thousands less in prize money – something this grant will be out to change accord to Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) chairman Neville Bell.
“We aim to make it a harder decision for owners to contemplate taking Australian horses overseas for inferior prizemoney,” Bell said.
In another bid to attract the country’s premier sprinters to the Stradbroke Handicap 2013 field the balloting conditions could also be altered to increase the interest of interstate connections.
Currently run as a straight out handicap many of the leading runners are weighted out of contention opening up talks to change the conditions to either a set weights and penalties event or a quality handicap.
While sure to attract skeptics, the move could prove very successful using Adelaide’s premier sprint race, The Goodwood as an example.
The $500,000 Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m), held at Morphettville Racecourse in early May each year as part of South Australia’s autumn festival, was traditionally run as a handicap like the Stradbroke.
A change to a set weights and penalties race however in 2007 opened the door for Australia’s best racehorse Black Caviar to contest, and of course win, the race last year following the earlier success of another interstate champion Takeover Target (2009).
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