Toowoomba is set to ring in the New Year with the richest provincial horse breed in Queensland’s history.
- The King of the Mountain slot race is only open to Queensland bred and trained horses
- With a prize pool of $750,000 on offer, it will become the richest provincial race in the state
- The race will take place under lights at Clifford Park on December 31
Toowoomba horse trainer Maddy Sears said The King of the Mountain slot race, which will have a $750,000 prize pool, was a great initiative by the Toowoomba Turf Club.
“It really highlights the region and will showcase how good our horses really are,” Sears said.
The sprint race will be run under lights at Clifford Park on December 31, with entries restricted to Queensland-bred and trained horses.
Sears, who operates a family business with her father Tony, said they were already eyeing off a spot in the lucrative race.
“Obviously, to win the first one would be an honor… no one can take that title away from you.”
Taking a punt on slot racing
The King of the Mountain concept is based on the hugely successful Everest and Kosciuszko slot races in New South Wales.
The Toowoomba Turf Club spearheaded a campaign to add another big race event to the regional Queensland calendar and formed a committee of select business, event and racing experts.
Committee chair Paul Reedy said it took the basic principles of the NSW races but added a maroon feel.
He said it was open to Queensland Thoroughbred Incentive Scheme horses and Queensland-based trainers to encourage a magnificent provincial race where the city met the bush.
“We’re trying to make sure we enhance this race and make sure it’s good for all participants,” Mr Reedy said.
Mr Reedy said there were 12 slots to fill.
“You don’t have to be a Queenslander to own a slot, just the horse you picked to race in your slot has to be sourced and trained here,” he said.
“People will buy a slot for $40,000 which gives us $480,000 … and Queensland Thoroughbred Incentive Scheme are putting the other remaining $270,000 needed to bring it up to $750,000.”
Other big race meets outside Brisbane, like the Gold Coast’s Magic Millions and the Ipswich Cup, are part of the metropolitan race draw.
Backing a winner
Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell said the race would further incentivize the local breeding industry, including the highly vaunted Queensland Thoroughbred Incentive Scheme, which provided more than $12 million in prize money each year.
Mr Parnell said Racing Queensland couldn’t say no when the Toowoomba Turf Club presented its idea.
“It was an innovative submission brought forward by the club and the breeders and we thought, ‘well, let’s back that’ because this is the heartland of breeding and it’s a concept that supports the breeding industry,” he said.
Mr Parnell said the slot race would boost an already booming summer carnival.
“The big Magic Millions race day is only two weeks later, so the winner of the King of the Mountain could be vying for a million-dollar race two weeks later,” he said.
Expressions of interest for slots are expected to open in the coming weeks.