Queensland’s premier Group 1 harness racing feature, the Ladbrokes Blacks A Fake, will swell to $400,000 in prize money in 2023.
With the harness code set to receive almost $5 million in additional prize money from February 1, Queensland’s annual Grand Circuit event will increase by $50,000 next year.
The crowning jewel of the Queensland Constellations has enjoyed a number of prize money increases in recent years, having now doubled since 2017.
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said that the increase to the code’s pinnacle event was made possible thanks to the recent Investment Growth Plan, which will see a further $31 million in prize money across the three codes delivered early next year.
“As Queensland’s only annual Grand Circuit event, the Blacks A Fake is one of the most coveted races on the Australasian racing calendar,” Mr Parnell said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s Betting Tax reform has allowed us to deliver this deserved stakes increase, as the harness code continues to reach record-breaking levels in the Sunshine State.
“More broadly, prize money in the code has doubled since FY18, now reaching close to $32 million per annum.”
The Queensland Trotters Cup, run on the same evening as the Blacks A Fake, will also benefit from a stakes increase, doubling to $100,000 from next year.
At the same time, RQ will place a 5% levy on all $250,000 races and above to support and enhance its animal care initiatives. This will apply to all codes in 2023 and beyond.
Elsewhere, the Group 1 Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint will remain a crucial lead up to the Blacks A Fake, with an increase from $150,000 to $200,000 in 2023.
Run one week prior, the Sunshine Sprint has proven the ideal lead up into the Blacks A Fake, with Majestic Cruiser, Colt Thirty One and Hectorjayjay all having run in the lead up before going on to claim glory in the pinnacle event in recent years.
“Added prize money for the Ladbrokes Blacks A Fake will help lure the best pacers in Australia and New Zealand to Albion Park for our winter, which goes from strength to strength each year,” Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman Brad Steele said.
“As Queensland’s Grand Circuit event, the Blacks A Fake always oozes quality and the added prize money makes this much sought after Group 1 event even more attractive.
“Blacks A Fake was an absolute champion having won 72 races, including a record four Inter Dominion Pacing Finals, and to have one of Queensland’s premier races at The Creek named after him is fantastic.”
Further enhancements as a part of the 2023 Queensland Constellations will be unveiled in the New Year.
This announcement follows the recent confirmation that a new Queensland Centre of Excellence will be established in the Sunshine State.
Situated near Norwell, just 40 minutes between Brisbane and Gold Coast, the world-class harness racing facility is expected to host more than 200 meetings per annum, and critically, will include training and stabling facilities which are presently unavailable in Queensland.
By Racing Queensland