The Queensland summer carnival has become a huge event on the racing calendar and it’s only going to get bigger and better.
The stories behind nine fairytales of racing are in their infancy as the TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival takes centre stage across the nation.
Bookended by major race meets on the Sunshine and Gold coasts, the 2021-22 carnival has 31 feature races and boasts more than $20m in prizemoney, including The Star $10m Magic Millions Race Day where nine races will deliver dreams for the winning connections.
“The summer carnival is outstanding,” Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell said.
“What it has done over the past two years, with new innovations like the The Gateway giving the winner entry into The Stradbroke Handicap, The Wave and the Magic Millions day which is one of the great days of Australian racing where there are nine fairytales on offer.
“The best jockeys, the best trainers and brilliant postcards from the Gold Coast will be sent around the world.”
For the first time in recent years there have been no major additions to the summer program, highlighting the strength of the current calendar as Racing Queensland looks to solidify its standing among the major carnivals across the country.
“We have made some subtle changes but we think the skeleton of the carnival is really good,” Parnell said.
“It is really strong. Last year demonstrated that, even with the Covid restrictions. The Star Magic Millions is the richest race day in Queensland and is the biggest wagering day in the state and The Wave day leading into the Magic Millions week was a roaring success last year.
“We are looking to take that to a new level this year and expect a new wagering record to occur in Magic Millions week. We expect it go higher than $100m.”
The summer carnival officially began at the Sunshine Coast with the Mooloolaba Cup last Saturday, won by the Gary Duncan-trained Wapiti.
The Tattersall’s Celebration Season Race Day will be held on the Gold Coast this Saturday, while five consecutive weeks of action at the Brisbane Racing Club culminates in the Magic Millions Prelude Race Day on New Year’s Day, with 15 black type races and six chances to secure a lucrative wildcard into Queensland’s richest race day at the Gold Coast.
Group racing commences on December 4 at Doomben, with the $200,000 Group 3 George Moore Stakes over 1200m, a day that also features the finals for both the Country Cups Challenge and Country Stampede.
Jockey Stephanie Thornton won the $1m QTIS Open Handicap at last year’s Magic Millions with The Odyssey, a win she labelled her best.
“I’d say it was the biggest win of my career and probably the most satisfying as well,” Thornton said.
“It was only my second Magic Millions but to end the final race with a win on him was very exciting.”
Coinciding with the summer carnival grand final is the Magic Millions yearling sales, set to be held from January 11 to 17.
The sales ring will see 1230 lots go under the hammer from 107 individual stallions, including 20 first-season sires.
Magic Millions chief executive Barry Bowditch said the catalogue boasted depth of quality and offered prospective buyers more than just a shot at the $2m 2YO Classic.
“We have seen all the yearlings we can around the country and hand-picked the best crop we can,” Bowditch said.
“The market now understands it is a very diverse sale. Not only have we sold every Group 1-winning two-year-old since 2019, including every Golden Slipper colt that has gone to the market.
“We sold the (Victorian Racing) Derby winner (Hitotsu) and Spring Champion Stakes winner (Profondo) who topped the sales at $1.9m in 2020.
“We are not a one dimensional sale and it’s not just about the two-year-olds anymore.”
Originally published as More than $20m in prizemoney and 31 feature races on offer during Queensland summer carnival