$6m in Budget to upgrade courses

New $6 million redevelopment program for Country and Regional Racing

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Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.

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THE Queensland government has allocated $6 million in its Budget announced on Tuesday to fund a Country and Regional Capital Works Program with spending across all three racing codes.

Racing Minister Grace Grace said the package includes $4.4 million to address infrastructure needs raised through a submission process which invited race clubs to bid for funds. Ms Grace said Racing Queensland (RQ) also identified a further $1.6 million of projects through an extensive review process, with a total of 113 clubs benefiting.

“I am pleased to be able to approve this funding program which will begin to address infrastructure requirements immediately with phase one to be completed within 18 months. Our clubs in country and regional areas are a key part of their local economies while also providing a strong social connection. They need to be supported and I know these projects will make a difference,” Ms Grace said

The Minister said each submission was assessed for its ability to improve racing operations, enhance industry returns and deliver better workplace health and safety and animal welfare outcomes.

Ms Grace said each racing region would benefit from this new funding, with project examples including:

  • Recycled and water harvesting projects in Mackay and Rockhampton;
  • Transportable Starting Barriers to be shared between a number of thoroughbred clubs in the Central West and Downs country regions;
  • Upgrades and replacement of racing infrastructure including stewards’ towers, running rails, barrier stalls and starting boxes at code tracks located across the regions;
  • Animal welfare equipment and amenities upgrades across the codes and regions; and
  • Track surface upgrades across the codes and the regions.

Racing Queensland CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said the Country and Regional Capital Works Program was for projects under $1 million with a separate process for those over that amount.

“The process was detailed and collaborative to ensure fairness and a level playing field for all involved. Racing facilities were visited across the state with interviews conducted and venue assessment reports produced. We also consulted with industry stakeholders regarding club and industry infrastructure requirements as well as conducting analysis of previous club infrastructure investment to identify trends,” Dr Forbes said

RQ received 159 project requests of less than $1 million. Of those, 90 have been provisionally approved as priority projects. In addition, RQ determined another 40 projects have merit however they did not meet the animal welfare or workplace safety requirement or require further work before being assessed.

Following Ministerial approval of the package, RQ will undertake due diligence before proceeding with project implementation. RQ will project manage the infrastructure upgrades to ensure efficiencies of cost and scale while also maintaining regular reporting of project stages. The fund includes a contingency amount of $500,000.

Impending wins Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap

Impending wins the Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.

Impending wins the Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.

HAVING ridden former champion Australian sire Lonhro and outstanding 3YO filly Mnemosyne to Group 1 successes, it was absolutely fitting that former champion jockey Darren Beadman should celebrate his first Group 1 win as a trainer with their progeny – namely 3YO colt Impending who won Queensland’s premier sprint, the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m), at Doomben on Saturday, June 10.

The seventh 3YO to win the Stradbroke in the past 25 years and the first since Sincero in 2011, Impending advanced his record to three wins (including the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes) and five placings (including the Group 1 ATC Golden Rose Stakes) from 12 starts for $1,518,000 in earnings.

A homebred for Darley, Impending is out of dual Group winner Mnemosyne and is a half-brother to Group 3 Newcastle Cameron Handicap winner Forget (Exceed And Excel). This is also the family of Group 1 Golden Slipper, Group 1 AJC Sires' Produce and Group 1 VRC Sires' Produce Stakes winner and sire Full On Aces.

Godolphin Australia managing director Henry Plumptre paid tribute to former champion jockey Darren Beadman who was celebrating his first Group 1 winner as a trainer. "Hats off to the trainer. He's a Group 1 person," Plumptre told Racing Queensland Webnews.

National Sale grosses record $144 million

RECORDS tumbled with the curtain brought down on a hugely successful 2017 Magic Millions National Sale on the Gold Coast on Thursday, June 8.

The final day of selling comprising Book 2 Yearlings and Racehorses grossed more than  $1.56 million to post a new record for the breeding stock sale.

The record sale gross of $144,344,750 for 1,636 lots sold smashed last year's gross by $37 million or 35 percent. The overall average price for every lot sold across the National Weanling, Broodmare, Yearling and Racehorse Sales was $88,230 - up almost 15 percent on last year when less lots were offered.

Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox said the overall event had been an incredible success with records tumbling across the board.

"The National Sale ended with a gross of more than $144 million - which all but equalled the gross from our record breaking January Yearling Sale of $146 million and far surpassing the $107 million of the 2016 National Sale."

"We started selling 15 days ago and in that time we've seen many people come and go. Everyone has played a significant part in what has been an outstanding couple of weeks on the Gold Coast. There are many people we need to thank for their support and dedication in making for what has been a hugely successful National Sale."

"The vendors and their staff, buyers, Magic Millions team, bar and wait staff, grounds and night crews, however special mention to the transport companies and their staff for what was an unprecedented logistical exercise, to turn the place around three times is a fantastic performance," Cox said.

Record average at National Yearling sale

THE two day Book One component of the National Yearling Sale held on Tuesday and  Wednesday , June 6 and 7, saw a record $16 million paid for 297 lots to create a new record average price of $54,328.

"It was a sale of two tales," Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox said. "The better horses sold very well as indicated by selling eight lots higher than last year's top price."

"The other side of the story was a lower than acceptable clearance rate which is in our own fault for allowing too much of a tail in Book One. The National Yearling Sale has huge potential and it is our job in the next 12 months to tighten the catalogue so that our buyers are exposed to a consistently better product," Cox said.

Top sale price was $380,000 for A More Than Ready colt closely related to recent Group 1 winning juvenile The Mission. Offered by Scone's Attunga Stud, the colt – from the city winning Flying Spur mare Xandretta – was bought by Hong Kong based bloodstock agent George Moore.

Second top sale price was $350,000 for a Fastnet Rock/Cryptic Miss filly. A half-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Fiveandahalfstar and group performer Wordplay, the filly was bought by bloodstock agent David Lucas on behalf of Dubai's Phoenix Thoroughbreds.

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