Ladbrokes Protostar Slot Holders Announced

Today at The Creek, the ballot for slots in the inaugural Ladbrokes Protostar was conducted following 13 applications for the eight slots.

Offering $500,000 in stakes to become the richest race on the Queensland harness racing calendar, the Protostar will be run over the 1660 metre journey and becomes the richest two-year-old race in the country as Australia’s only slot race exclusively for two-year-olds.

Ladbrokes, as the race sponsor, have received two slots, while the initial ballot saw three Queensland based slot holders announced.

Following the draw of the first three slots exclusive to the Queensland applicants, the remaining three Queensland applicants returned to the ballot along with the seven interstate applicants to determine the final five slots.

The first Queensland slot holder announced was Gemma Hewitt Racing, with Jamie Durnberger-Smith, representing Summit Bloodstock the second drawn out of the ballot.

Durnberger-Smith is confident that the Summit team has the right type of juveniles in training to be a factor come July and is buoyed by the opportunity to be associated with the inaugural running of the Protostar.

“We loaded up pretty hard last year on yearlings, they are progressing really well,” Durnberger-Smith said.

“We’ve got a couple of horses we think are jets, so fingers crossed one of them is up here in July and then hopefully we can win it.”

Summit Bloodstock, coming off a huge 2023 Season where they claimed victory in two slot races -the Eureka and the Race By Grins-, and finished second in the Nullarbor, have horses in training all over Australia and New Zealand.

Durnberger-Smith praised the introduction of the race, and the Summit Bloodstock team are excited to chase another big payday.

“Queensland has taken the initiative to do this with the two-year-olds, we thought that was a little bit of a chink in our armour as we concentrate mainly on the tried horses, but we really dabbled into it last year into the yearlings.

“For this race to come at this time, it just seems all very serendipitous, just perfect timing,” he said.

Daren Garrard missed out in the first round of Queensland ballots, however, was able to have a slot drawn in the second ballot round and is excited about the race.

“No two-year-old race comes close to it for stakes, and we will be racing for it here at The Creek” Garrard said.

“With that amount of prizemoney, it really opens the opportunity for the race to become international.

“I don’t have one at the moment that looks set to measure up, but we can play it how it comes now.”

The Protostar has been programmed to be held on July 27, as a part of Blacks A Fake night during the 2024 Queensland Constellations.