Queensland’s richest race has become even richer, with $1 million now on the table for the horse that can pass the post first in the Stradbroke Handicap.
The prestigious 1400m race previously offered $640,000 to the winner but has received a $360,000 boost as Racing Queensland attempts to attract the best possible field.
The increase comes as part of $2 million that will be injected into prizemoney across the state this year.
Racing Queensland Chairman Kevin Dixon said it was a necessary move in order to ensure it maintains its status as the nation’s winter racing pinnacle.
“We understand the importance of funding grassroots racing and have made good progress in that area,” Dixon said.
“However, it’s also important to keep Queensland’s most time-honoured race relevant and ensure that it remains one of the most important on the Australian racing calendar.”
Brisbane Racing Club chairman Neville Bell echoed Dixon’s thoughts and hopes it will help persuade owners to bring their horses to Queensland rather than head overseas.
“We aim to make it a harder decision for owners to contemplate taking Australian horses overseas for inferior prizemoney,” Bell said.
A wider review of the Stradbroke Handicap will begin in June as officials consider whether changes need to be made to the iconic race.
The handicap conditions currently prevent the country’s most elite gallopers entering as they attract too much weight.
Racing Queensland have shown they are not shy of making changes, upsetting purists earlier this year by moving the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes from Eagle Farm to Doomben and reducing the distance from 1400m to 1350m.