First two runners locked in for The Great Square

Harry Stamper and Rockinwithattitude will be out to create history after being locked in as the first two runners for the inaugural Haras de Trotteurs The Great Square, part of the 2023 Queensland Constellations. 

The pair will line up at Albion Park on Saturday, July 8 in the brand-new Group 1 $150,000 trotting feature for three and four-year-olds, which carries a $25,000 bonus if the race is won by a three-year-old. 

Kiwi import Harry Stamper has posted eight wins across 17 starts in his career, including the 2022 Group Breeders Crown 3YO Final, amassing more than $115,000 in prize money and bonuses. 

Trainer Joe Pace said The Great Square would suit the four-year-old who has just returned from a spell. 

“It was nice for him to get an invite – he’s a horse that’s tracking really well at the moment,” Pace said. 

“He’ll enjoy The Great Square as it’s over the 2100 metres and no doubt the speed will be on and that’s in his favour. 

“He held out Plymouth Chubb when he won the Breeders Crown so he showed us he’s quite versatile and he can come from behind and he can lead so I think that race will be a perfect race for him.” 

“The trotting races have always been a bit below in prize money than the pacers, so to do this new race for the trotters is just terrific…trotting is all over the world so it’s good for them to actually be recognised.” 

Talented filly Rockinwithattitude has also been locked in for The Great Square following a blistering return from a 126-day spell. 

The three-year-old took out the Group 1 NSW Trotters Oaks at Menangle in her first race back, before backing it up with victory in the Group 1 NSW Trotters Derby on Saturday night. 

Trainer-driver David Miles said The Great Square would serve as one part of a three-pronged attack on the Queensland Constellations. 

“We found a couple of nice races where she’s been able to dictate and lead and she seems to have come back as good as last year,” Miles said. 

“The times she was running last season, she didn’t have to improve. 

“She probably won’t race until The Great Square now, we’ll just trial to get her ready and take on the big strong junior free-for-alls. 

“Fingers crossed we get the three runs out of her up there because there’s The Great Square and then you’ve got the Queensland Oaks and the Queensland Derby the two weeks after. 

“Usually when you travel your grand final’s the last race of the cycle, but this situation is slightly different with it being the first race. 

Harry Stamper is locked in for The Great Square. (Image supplied by Stuart McCormick)

“I’m sure it definitely won’t be an easy race taking on the four-year-olds but hopefully it doesn’t knock her about too much that she doesn’t miss the next two.” 

“The Great Square is a little bit like a Cox Plate for the thoroughbreds – the three-year-olds go through the Guineas, the Ascot Vale Stakes and then have to take on the old horses in the Cox Plate. 

“It’s the first time the three-year-olds are pitted against the older horses so it gives me that sort of feel of a race for the trotters. 

“As you’ve seen with the Cox Plate, the three-year olds are better than them if they’re mature and sometimes they’re not.” 

Racing Queensland Senior Racing Manager – Harness David Brick said he was pleased to see some quality runners being locked in for The Great Square ahead of its debut. 

“The 2023 Queensland Constellations continues to attract some of Australian harness racing’s biggest names,” he said. 

“The excitement continues to build for this new Group 1 race, and the confirmation of Harry Stamper and Rockinwithattitude will only serve to build the anticipation. 

“We are expecting a high-quality race at Albion Park, and we look forward to unveiling further acceptances as we draw closer to July 8.” 

Eight Group 1s will be held over the seven weeks of the Constellations, with more than $3 million in prize money and bonuses up for grabs. 

Racing Queensland and Albion Park Harness Racing Club officials will shortly hand out two more invitations for the race, one for each age. 

The rest of the field will then be made up of nominations which close with RQ on Monday, July 3 at 10am.  

The barrier draw for the race, which will be conducted in conjunction with the Rising Sun barrier draw on Monday, July 3, will be broadcast live on Sky2. 

Click here for more information on the Constellations.


By Racing Queensland