A golden Qld Summer awaits
By Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer
The TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival is fast approaching with a lot to look forward to on the track between now and then.
Having introduced the Summer Carnival for the first time last year, initiatives such as the Golden Ticket and the Gold Bullion were warmly received by local and inter-state participants alike.
Pleasingly, the Summer Carnival provides Group racing opportunities for sprinters, middle distance types, stayers, and age-restricted greyhounds alike.
During last year’s Golden Greys, Sennachie ran the second fastest time ever seen over the 520m trip at Albion Park, coming within 0.03 seconds of the mark he set when taking out the 2019 Brisbane Cup.
I look forward to providing further details in the next Chase column.
Racing drives Queensland economy
RQ has released its latest economic data, with the Queensland racing industry’s annual contribution to the state’s economy growing by 5.5% to more than $1.6 billion.
Delivered by IER – a specialist in the tourism, events and entertainment industries – the 2018/19 Size and Scope Report outlines the economic benefit of the racing industry to Queensland.
Since publishing our 2017/18 Report, the Queensland racing industry has created an additional 1,070 extra full-time jobs.
Importantly, 46% of the $1.6 billion in value added contribution is realised in regional economies, underlining our importance to the state as a whole.
The numbers underpin the strong growth realised as part of our latest Size and Scope Report and a full copy can be found at www.racingqueensland.com.au.
Having published our 2019/20 Annual Report in September, RQ increased its payments to participants in FY20 to a record-high $223 million – an 8.7% increase on FY19 – with prizemoney reaching $172 million.
For the greyhound code, annual turnover for Queensland product surpassed $1 billion for the first time, which represents an 18.7% increase.
Revenue increased to $30.2 million off the back of 18.6% growth.
Over the course of the year, RQ conducted 574 TAB meetings – a 14.6% increase on 2018/19 – and featured 5,884 races.
Pleasingly, prizemoney increased from $19.5 million in FY19 to $21.9 million in FY20.
Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre consultation
In recent times, RQ has commenced industry consultation on the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre with our key consultants.
To date, 10 targeted presentations have been conducted – either in-person or virtually – providing more than 100 participants with greater insight into the project.
Stakeholder groups included the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club; Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club; Queensland Racing Integrity Commission; the Greyhound Advisory Panel; owners and trainers; wagering and vision partners.
Licensed participants were also invited to attend a public forum in late September.
The project team received detailed feedback from the stakeholder groups and the evaluation process is now underway.
Further updates will be provided as the GBGC project continues to advance.
The amenities to be established at Purga include:
- Construction of a large one-turn track, two-turn track and straight track;
- Track safety benefits including radius and surface banking to be designed in a way to reduce excessive limb forces acting on greyhounds while racing;
- World-class racing surfaces;
- Starting box positioning – including roll on boxes were best suited – which reduces racing interference and supports race safety;
- Starting box design incorporating optimum spacing between contestants and grille heights;
- Grandstand and customer facilities ensuring gold standard customer experience and viewing of all three tracks; and
- Air-conditioned, sound-attenuated kennels with best practice pre and post racing support services.
Additional greyhound meetings
Over the past five months, RQ has been conducting a second meeting in Townsville each week.
To date, the wagering performance has been solid, while nomination flow has been good.
After initially commencing in a Friday afternoon timeslot, the additional meeting is now held every other week on Saturday mornings.
RQ has been impressed with the support participants have given the meetings, despite early starting times which have been driven by daylight savings and southern programming.
At the same time, the additional Capalaba meeting is set to shift this month to the late morning/early afternoon slot on Wednesdays.
The decision was made following a review of nomination flow and consultation with the club, with the hope of securing stronger nomination levels on a Wednesday/Sunday basis.
As an organisation, the expansion of our straight racing footprint is something we have focussed on and we are confident that it will play a larger role on a national basis in the future.
Bundaberg Cup takes flight
The Bundaberg Cup was a run and won during last month’s long weekend with Flying Jet securing the $25,000 winners’ cheque.
As the richest race ever run at the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club, the event attracted some quality nominations, while the local promotion was also to be commended given the current environment.
The Peter O’Reilly-trained Flying Jet proved too slick in the Final with a convincing victory.
RQ looks forward to growing the event in 2021.
All roads lead to Ipswich
Finally, all roads lead to Ipswich on November 12 with a number of exciting initiatives.
In addition to the Group 3 Ipswich Cup, RQ will use the meeting to celebrate its NAIDOC activities, including a celebration of our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Having recently submitted our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan to Reconciliation Australia, NAIDOC activities will occur across all three codes and will include the NAIDOC Celebration Chase at Ipswich.