Gateway innovation unveiled for Stradbroke start

Queensland's The Star Gateway will undergo new innovation this year, with winning connections now having the option to select a horse to line up in the $3m, Group 1 The Star Stradbroke Handicap.

With the Queensland Summer Racing Carnival programme announced last month, the ‘win and you’re in’ to the Stradbroke Handicap will take on a new twist in 2023 with a new slot allocation being introduced.

Going forward, the winning owners of the race will be allocated a slot into the Stradbroke, set to be held on June 15, 2024.

The owners will have the option to run their own horse, or negotiate to designate their slot to one of the horses nominated, and in the top 40 order of entry, for the race.

Exclusively for four-year-olds over 1400 metres, The Gateway will be run at Eagle Farm on December 9.

The Gateway has unearthed a number of bona fide Queensland stars in its short history, with subsequent Group 1 winners Vega One and Apache Chase booking their spots in the time-honoured Stradbroke through the race.

“The Stradbroke Handicap is Queensland’s most prestigious and sought-after race, and The Gateway remains a perfect platform to secure their berth in the record-breaking $3 million feature,” RQ CEO Jason Scott said.

“We have worked closely with the Brisbane Racing Club to refine the race, ensuring that our Winter Carnival centrepiece has the strongest possible field.

“The owners are an integral part of our industry, and this new innovation gives them the power to ensure they are represented with the best possible chance in claiming the famous Stradbroke.”

With more than $25 million in prize money and bonuses on offer, the eyes of the nation will be on Australia’s most exciting Summer Carnival over 10 action-packed weeks, commencing November 18.

“The Star Gateway winning owners will either have the first runner into The Star Stradbroke or have the last right to elevate a top 40 runner into the field up until the day prior to acceptances,” Brisbane Racing Club Head of Commercial & Racing Matt Rudolph said.

“The slot will help bolster the quality of The Gateway and create plenty of intrigue in the lead up to the Stradbroke over the following six months.

“We bounced the concept off some of our carnival visitors this year as well as prominent local stakeholders and it was met with great support.”

This announcement follows new innovation at the back-end of the Carnival with changes to the Magic Millions Raceday unveiled earlier in the year.

The famous Magic Millions Raceday will reach new heights, with both time-honoured marquee features – the 2YO Classic and 3YO Guineas – increasing by $1 million to be run for $3 million apiece.

As a result, total prize money for Magic Millions Raceday soars to $14.25 million in 2024 (up from $11.75 million in 2023), while maintaining its standing as the only raceday in the Southern Hemisphere to stage eight million-dollar plus races on the one card.

The full programme for the 2023/24 Queensland Summer Racing Carnival. 

The Gateway will be run at Eagle Farm on December 9th, picture R & S NewsWire