A new sprinting series will accompany this year’s Queensland Country Cups Challenge providing 16 of regional Queensland’s best thoroughbreds with the opportunity to line-up at Doomben this summer.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the $50,000 Country Stampede will begin in Longreach, which will host the inaugural qualifier on September 26.
Dawson, Ewan and Mount Isa will do likewise as part of a blockbuster opening day to the qualifiers, with heats for the Country Cups Challenge being conducted at the same meetings.
Throughout October and November, a further 12 qualifiers will be staged across the state before the Final on December 5 at George Moore Stakes Day.
With COVID-19 disrupting this year’s Battle of the Bush series, Minister Hinchliffe welcomed the creation of the Country Stampede and the opportunity for regional Queensland’s best sprinters to win their way through to the Summer Carnival, alongside their middle distance counterparts.
“The Country Cups Challenge was an exciting addition to the racing calendar last year and the Country Stampede promises to be just as eventful,” he said.
“While there has been a lot of disruption throughout 2020, the Queensland racing industry has been tremendously resilient and has done a remarkable job given the circumstances.
“With restrictions gradually being eased, the opportunity for racegoers to make their on-course return and to witness the 16 qualifiers vying for a berth in Brisbane is particularly pleasing.
“Racing boasts such a rich history in regional and remote Queensland and series such as the Country Cups Challenge and the Country Stampede play a key role in uniting them together.”
In order to be eligible for either Final, horses may not have won a metropolitan race in the past two years and must have started in one of the 16 qualifiers.
Float subsidies will be paid to the trainers of horses that remain in the field for both the Country Cups Challenge and Country Stampede after final scratching time on the following basis:
• South East and Eastern Downs regions - $500;
• Downs and Capricorn regions - $750;
• Central West and Leichhardt regions - $1,500; and
• Far North and North West regions - $2,000.