A $10.5 million funding package will be delivered to Racing Queensland’s three codes from next week.
Late last year, the Queensland Government announced it would fund a $26 million prize money increase for the thoroughbred code to be delivered in two stages. They were:
- An immediate $18 million increase effective November 1, 2018; and
- A further $8 million in six months following the implementation of reform measures.
At the same time, the Government and RQ agreed to co-fund a $5.5 million increase for the greyhound and harness codes in 2018, with RQ providing an additional $2.5 million in 2019 following the implementation of similar reform measures.
Across the three codes, $34 million will be delivered to address industry viability and long-term sustainability with the latest funding increase to commence from June 17.
“Racing Queensland remains extremely grateful to the Queensland Government for their funding support,” RQ Chairman Steve Wilson said.
“As an industry, we were committed to delivering reform measures and enhancing our viability, long-term sustainability and competitiveness with other racing jurisdictions.
“Over the past six months, significant progress has been achieved, and while more work still needs to take place, I look forward to further progress as we deliver on our strategic and commercial priorities.”
As part of the additional $8 million in thoroughbred funding, RQ will abolish starters’ fees to significantly reduce the cost to race in Queensland.
“The removal of starters’ fees will benefit all thoroughbred representatives,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“We’ve also made a concerted effort to elevate mid-week metropolitan prizemoney, while our SEQ participants indicated that a weekly feature race would be warmly received.”
Late last year, the greyhound code received a $3.5 million increase and a further $1.5 million will now commence, while the harness code earlier received a $2 million increase and will now realise an additional $1 million.
“By allocating funds in such a broad manner across all three codes, RQ aims to drive improved field sizes which benefits wagering revenues which underpin our industry,” Mr Parnell said.
Thoroughbred highlights include:
- Removal of starters fee: $2.5m benefit to owners across all Queensland race meetings;
- Metropolitan Saturday restricted races increased from $45k to $50k (+10%);
- Metropolitan mid-week prizemoney raised from $30k to $35k (+17%);
- Mid-week metropolitan maidens raised to $27.5k (+10%);
- A feature $30k race to be programmed at SEQ Provincial meetings on a weekly basis (GCTC, ITC and SCTC); and
- Northern Provincial midweek increased to $17,000 and Saturday Provincial 2 meetings to $15,000.
Greyhound highlights include:
- Classes 2 and 3 races to rise by $525 (+15-20%);
- Classes 5 and Class 6 races to rise by $525 (+22-25%);
- Appearance fees to increased to $60 per starter (+20%); and
- Ipswich Cup and Flying Amy increased to $110k to become Group 1 races.
Harness highlights include:
- All standard Friday races increased to minimum $6,500;
- All standard Tuesday races increased to minimum $8,000;
- Minimum stakes for Redcliffe Wednesday and Thursday meetings increased to $4,000 (+14%); and
- Sunshine Sprint increased to $100k and returns to Group 1 status.