Queensland Summer Carnival to include The Gateway path to Stradbroke

A new-look TAB Queensland Summer Carnival will soon be unveiled including the introduction of The Gateway which will provide the winner with a ballot-free exemption into the 2020 Stradbroke Handicap.

In the first of several announcements, Racing Queensland has confirmed the Summer Carnival will commence at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, November 16 and will feature 22 black-type races, along with a raft of prize money increases and the $10 million Gold Coast Magic Millions Race Day.

The path to the Magic Millions will be enhanced by three consecutive Saturday meetings at Eagle Farm commencing on December 14 with The Gateway - a new $250,000 race exclusively for four-year-olds over 1400m with the winner securing a guaranteed berth in the time-honoured Stradbroke Handicap.

The Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes for three-year-olds will be moved from its traditional winter timeslot to a new summer home on December 21, and in the process, will enjoy a prize money increase from $150,000 to $250,000 to become the Final of the 3YO Stayers Series.

Finally, the Road to the Magic Millions Race Day on December 28 will offer five up-graded black-type races and four chances to secure a lucrative wildcard into Queensland’s richest raceday at the Gold Coast.

Other prize money increases announced include:

- An uplift for two-year-olds in the B.J. McLachlan Stakes ($200k to $250k);
- Increased prize money for three-year-old sprinters in the Gold Edition Plate ($125k to $200k) and the Vo Rogue Plate ($200k to $300k);
- In addition to the richer Grand Prix Stakes, increased prize money for 3YO stayers in the Eagle Way heats ($85k to $105k); and
- Fillies and mares prize boost in The Nudgee ($125k to $200k).

“The TAB Queensland Summer Carnival is rapidly emerging,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.

“We’ve introduced a number of exciting initiatives including The Gateway which provides the perfect platform for sprinters looking to secure a berth in the Stradbroke.

“Working closely with the Brisbane Racing Club, three-year-old sprint and staying races have also received a major boost.

“But we’re not done yet, and we look forward to sharing further enhancements in the near future.”

With the TAB Origin Jockeys Series being staged at Doomben and Eagle Farm on December 13 and 14, the Friday meeting will feature the listed $125,000 Phelan Ready and Calaway Gal for two-year-olds.

Brisbane Racing Club Chairman Neville Bell said its an exciting new program that would provide high-quality racing across the Summer Carnival. 

“The Gateway is a new $250,000 race for four-year-olds that will provide the winner with a guaranteed start in the TAB Stradbroke,” Mr Bell said.

“We also look forward to the switch to summer of the Grand Prix – a race that has been won by the greats of the turf such as Kingston Town, Surround and Balmerino.

“We’ve worked collaboratively with Racing Queensland on this schedule and we thank them for their co-operation and their commitment to a format that offers so much. 

“This is exciting for our local industry because it provides real pathways for our local owners and trainers to achieve feature race wins in Brisbane with strong prize money on offer.

“We expect to see some of the graduates of our Eagle Way Series, highlighted by the Grand Prix, become stars of the turf in the autumn of 2020 and beyond.”  

In total, the 2019/20 Summer Carnival will run across nine weeks before culminating at the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast on Saturday, January 11.