Feature racing set for Central and North Queensland

Feature racing will return to Central and North Queensland in 2020 with Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns scheduled to host their annual ‘Cup meetings’ at reduced prize money levels.

While the TAB Queensland Northern Crowns Series will not proceed due to COVID-19, RQ has programmed a dozen features over the coming months with the action to commence at Callaghan Park on July 17 with the Rockhampton Cup, Newmarket Handicap and Magic Millions Capricorn Guineas.

The feature races then move to Ooralea Racecourse on July 31 for the Mackay Cup, Newmarket Handicap and Magic Millions Whitsunday Guineas.

On August 14, Cluden Park will host the Townsville Cup, Cleveland Bay Handicap and Magic Millions Townsville Guineas.

Finally, Cannon Park will stage the Cairns Cup, Newmarket Handicap and Magic Millions Daintree Guineas on August 28.

“Our Cup meetings across Central and North Queensland are among the highlights on the state’s regional racing calendar,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.

“Whilst COVID-19 has impacted on our ability to run a traditional Winter Carnival, we’re pleased to be able to retain the staying, sprinting and Guineas features in 2020.

“The extension of the Magic Millions brand throughout regional Queensland is an exciting initiative and we’re confident the meetings will be well embraced, whether patrons are able to attend or not.”

In recent months, the Queensland racing industry has continued under strict biosecurity measures including patron-free meetings.

Late last week, RQ announced the creation of the ‘Central and North Coast Region’ which allows greater participant movement for those situated between Rockhampton and Cairns.