Racing Queensland’s northern Winter Carnival has been deemed a success with wagering and participation growth recorded across the period.
It comes after Racing Queensland increased carnival stakes by $527,000 across the feature race meetings and offered up to $350,000 in UBET Northern Crowns bonuses.
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said the prize money increases and bonuses, in conjunction with promotional activities conducted by clubs, helped attract high quality participants from across the state.
“Some of the state’s best trainers and jockeys were on show this year, which led to increased interest from racing fans across Australia,” he said.
“Average turnover per-race across the carnival for the same period in 2017 grew by 15% with average field sizes up from 10.66 to 11.26 per-race.”
Highlights for the carnival included;
- The Rockhampton Cup Carnival set new wagering records on provincial races in Queensland with $2.24 million (Rockhampton Newmarket) and $1.85 million (Rockhampton Cup).
- The Cleveland Bay (Townsville) recording the eighth highest turnover recorded on a Queensland provincial race ($1.56 million)
- Four races exceeding the $1.1 million in turnover mark – in 2017 there were none
Mackay Turf Club president John Philps said: “Mackay Cup Day was a hit this year with crowd numbers up 15% and all private functions and marquees sold-out well in advance.”
Townsville Turf Club president Malcolm Petrofski said the Carnival was very successful for the club, as well as the community.
“Crowd attendance for the Carnival period this year was up from previous years, with plenty of flow through to the general business community,” Mr Petrofski said.
Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Tony Fenlon said these results showed that with increased prizemoney and clubs incentivizing their race meetings to trainers and owners, this can and does attract the better stables, horses and riders.
“With the help and ongoing support of RQ and UBET I am confident that these numbers can be further improved in the years to come,” he said.
Cairns Amateurs CEO Graham Thornton said the Amateurs carnival was a wonderful showcase for the region.
“With almost 40 per cent of racegoers from inter or intrastate (areas outside Cairns) and an increasingly larger slice of the young demographic arriving trackside … it is great to see the Carnival thriving and maintaining its special place in people’s hearts.”
Mr Parnell said the northern carnival highlighted the positive impacts regional racing has on the Queensland economy.
“Racing contributes $1.2 billion in economic value each year to the Queensland economy, with 47% of that value realised in regional areas of Queensland,” he said.
“The success of this carnival has again proved how much racing, and its long-term viability, means to Queenslanders and punters across Australia who enjoy engaging with our product.”
Mr Parnell said the UBET Northern Crowns series offered bonuses to any horse that could win three of the five feature sprint or staying races across the carnival period.
“We would like to thank UBET and Tabcorp for their generous sponsorship of the 2018 Winter Carnival across all three codes,” Mr Parnell said.
The bonus saw the Diane Murphy-trained Peacock, a former James Cummings runner, race at four feature meetings across the Carnival as he chased the $150,000 UBET Northern Sprinters Crown.