RACING Queensland has announced six new venues will take part in the 2020 TAB Battle of the Bush Series.
Quilpie, Burrandowan, Charters Towers, Jandowae, Innisfail and Gayndah will each host a qualifying heat this year, culminating in the $125,000 final on Tattersall's Tiara Raceday at Eagle Farm on Saturday, June 20. The Emerald Jockey Club, which hosted a qualifier during the inaugural series in 2018, also returns to the schedule after a year's absence.
The Battle of the Bush begins at the Quilpie Diggers Race Club on May 2 and will again feature 16 qualifiers (two per country region) across the state, with the final heats to be staged at Barcaldine Race Club and Gayndah Jockey Club on June 6.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the series was a showpiece event for country racing and looked forward to its return later this year. "The Battle of the Bush has rapidly become one of the highlights on the Queensland racing calendar. It has energised the regions and provided our country participants with the perfect opportunity to race in town on a Group 1 race day," he said.
Having witnessed the growth of the Battle of the Bush, Racing Queensland chief operating officer Adam Wallish said the organisation was delighted with its progress and its growth over the past two years. "We're pleased to be able to bring the Battle of the Bush Series to six new clubs in 2020 and hope that it encourages further participation in this fantastic event. The TAB Queensland Racing Carnival continues to go from strength to strength and the Battle of the Bush has played a key role in its success in recent years," he said.
A $30,000 bonus will once again be paid to the winner if it is a QTIS registered horse. A full copy of the series conditions can be found at www.racingqueensland.com.au.
Battle of the Bush series:
May 2: Quilpie DRC, Newmarket Open Plate (sw), 1100m
May 9: Burrandowan PRC, Open Plate (sw), 1175m
May 9: Gordonvale TC, Open Plate (sw), 1100m
May 9: Longreach JC, Open Plate (sw), 1100m
May 9: Mount Isa RC, Open Plate (sw), 1100m
May 10: Towers JC, Open Plate (sw), 1200m
May 16: Emerald JC, Open Plate (sw), 1200m
May 16: Central Warrego RC, Newmarket Open Hcp, 1200m
May 16: Jandowae RC, Open Plate (sw), 1200m
May 23: Innisfail TC, Open Hcp, 1200m
May 30: Bowen TC, Open Hcp, 1200m
May 30: Cloncurry & DRC, Open Hcp, 1200m
May 30: Gladstone TC, Open Hcp, 1200m
May 30: Goondiwindi RC, Open Hcp, 1200m
June 6: Gayndah JC, Open Hcp, 1200m
June 6: Barcaldine RC, Open Hcp, 1200m
June 20: Tattersalls RC, Rest 0MWL2Y Quality Hcp, 1200m
Jamie masters Brisbane rivals
CENTRAL Queensland sprinter Master Jamie showed he was more than a 'one track wonder' by winning a QTIS 3YO colts and gelding handicap (1200m) by 1.75 lengths at Brisbane's Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Regarded as a Rockhampton track specialist, Master Jamie has the imposing record of nine starts at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park for eight wins - five as a 2YO - and a second. What's more, his last two Rockhampton wins on December 17 and 28 were in open company handicaps. The December 17 win was the ballot-free Millions Country Cup Qualifier Open Handicap (1100m) however the option to start in the Country Cup on January 4 was passed up.
Before his Eagle Farm win Master Jamie had only ventured to Brisbane twice - both times at Doomben where he ran third as a 2YO in November 2018 and unplaced in the Winning Rupert Plate for 3YO colts and geldings in November last year. However Rockhampton trainer Graeme Green has now 'penciled-in' the TAB QTIS 3YO Jewel (1200m) at the Gold Coast in March.
AAP reports Green was the track manager at Rockhampton before a stint training at Deagon for about five years. He moved back to Rockhampton to train two years ago and Master Jamie has been the star of his team.
Master Jamie's overall record of 10 wins and two placings has now returned $263,725 prize money, which includes $89,800 in QTIS bonuses. That's a great return on his $10,000 purchase price paid by Ron and Bev White and Maureen Olive at the 2018 Magic Millions March yearling sale. Bred at Aquis Farm, Canungra, Master Jamie is by English Group 1 winning sire Poet's Voice and is now one of five winners produced from the winning Flying Spur mare Verkko. She, in turn, is one of seven winners including two stakes winners produced from the Last Tycoon mare Sybarite and although Sybarite only started once she is a sibling to 12 winners including six stakes winners.
Full 2020 TAB Queensland Racing Carnival unveiled
RACING Queensland has finalised the new-look TAB Queensland Racing Carnival with innovative two and three-year-old programs, the launch of new and exciting races and a raft of prize money increases.
Staged over 10 action-packed weeks from April to June, the $350,000 EVA Air Queensland Guineas will open the Carnival, offering a ballot-free exemption into the newly announced $1.5 million EVA Air Q22. The Rough Habit and The Roses will enjoy prize money increases to $250,000 apiece, while the Group 1 Queensland Derby will be relocated to alongside the TAB Kingsford-Smith Cup.
These initiatives follow the earlier announcement of the $2.25 million Future Champions Series for 2YOs, which has already attracted more than 1800 nominations, while the Carnival will now boast five races worth at least $1 million spread across five Saturdays of Group 1 racing.
"The 3YO program has been significantly enhanced with the repositioning of the Guineas and the Derby, which will both offer win-and-you're-in opportunities to the EVA Air Q22, as will the Treasury Brisbane Queensland Oaks," Brisbane Racing Club CEO Tony Partridge said.
"The Group 1 Brisbane Racing Carnival is where future champions are made from Australia's highest prize money earners in Winx and Redzel, whose first Group 1 victories were at Doomben, to last year's Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare who will return to Eagle Farm this year. The stars of our sport come to shine in Brisbane in May and June and we look forward to welcoming the best jockeys and trainers back for our biggest ever carnival this year with five consecutive Saturdays of Group 1 racing," he said.
The fillies and mares' program now includes a distance change at the Gold Coast to the Silk Stocking (1300m) - up from 1200m - while RQ and the BRC recently announced the introduction of The Pam O'Neill (1350m) to be run on Doomben Cup Day. The former Glenlogan Park Stakes will now be a 1600m weight-for-age race run on Oaks Day with prize money jumping to $500,000.
"We wanted to add another signature middle-distance race for fillies and mares," RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said. "It coincides nicely with the Magic Millions National Sale and looms as an attractive race for owners. With more than 20 black-type races including eight Group 1s - along with a record-breaking $21 million in prize money - Queensland will be the place to race in 2020," he said.
With the Brisbane Cup returning to two miles, the Group 3 Tattersall's Cup will drop to 2400m under set weights and penalties. The penultimate meeting of the Carnival will also include the introduction of the new $200,000 Tattersall's Queensland Mile to support the Cup and the Group 1 Tattersall's Tiara. The Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast, Ipswich Cup and Sunshine Coast Cup days will also see additional prize money upgrades on the program.
Gold rush for Thoroughbred breeding industry
THE new-look TAB Queensland Racing Carnival will be bolstered in 2020 through the addition of the $200,000 QTIS Gold Jewel and QTISx bonuses on all stakes races.
Staged at Eagle Farm on Queensland Oaks Day, May 30, the QTIS Gold Jewel will be run over 1300m for QTIS registered horses, providing owners and breeders with more incentive than ever to support the Queensland breeding industry. The meeting will be staged either side of the TAB Kingsford-Smith Cup and the Stradbroke Handicap and is expected to feature some of the Sunshine State's finest sprinters.
Racing Queensland GM corporate affairs Mary Collier is up-beat about the Carnival enhancements. "The Carnival is starting to really take shape and we're looking forward to adding the QTIS Gold Jewel. In addition to the QTIS Gold Jewel, there's more than $1.7 million in QTISx sales vouchers available across the Carnival - along with a further $340,000 in breeders' bonuses - demonstrating why we believe QTIS is the best thoroughbred incentive scheme," she said.
Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association president Basil Nolan said the introduction of QTISx had been a boon for the industry as a whole. "The benefit of QTISx is the recognition and reward it provides to the entire industry including our breeders. There's more reason than ever for people to be supporting Queensland bred horses," he said.
Since the introduction of QTISx in September, more than $150,000 in bonuses have been won with more on the horizon.