Racing Queensland has announced the final changes to its winter carnival with some new races and a boost to two and three-year-old programs.
The carnival will now be held over 10 weeks from April to June with the opening draw card the $350,000 EVA Air Queensland Guineas for three-year-olds.
The Guineas will carry ballot-free exemption to the newly announced $1.5 million Eva Air Q22 at weight for age.
The carnival in recent years has been opened by a Toowoomba meeting which has been moved to September meaning the Queensland Guineas, which has been run on Stradbroke day in June, goes back to its traditional date at the start of the carnival.
Other major three-year-old races, the Rough Habit Plate and The Roses, have prize money increases to $250,000 while the Group One Queensland Derby will be relocated to TAB Kingsford-Smith Cup day.
Brisbane Racing Club chief executive Tony Partridge said $2.25 million Future Champions Series for two-year-olds announced earlier, had attracted more than 1800 nominations.
“The carnival will have eight Group Ones and five races worth at least $1 million,” Partridge said.
“The three-year-old program has been significantly enhanced with the repositioning of the Guineas and the Derby, which will both offer win-and-you’re-in opportunities to the EVA Air Q22, as will the Treasury Brisbane Queensland Oaks.”
RQ also announced the carnival’s fillies and mares’ program would include a distance change at the Gold Coast to the Silk Stocking which is up to 1300m while a new race The Pam O’Neill (1350m) will be run on Doomben Cup Day.
The former Glenlogan Park Stakes, for fillies and mares, will now be a 1600m weight-for-age race on Oaks Day with prize money jumping to $500,000.
“We wanted to add another signature middle-distance race for fillies and mares,” RQ boss Brendan Parnell said.
The Brisbane Cup goes back to 3200m meaning the Tattersall’s Cup will go from 3000m to 2400m under set weights and penalties.
The Tatt’s meeting will also include a new $200,000 Tattersall’s Queensland Mile to support the Cup and the Group One Tattersall’s Tiara.