The Queensland Winter Carnival continues to get bigger and better, year after year. The depth is getting deeper while the chances of claiming Group 1 glory is becoming harder and harder.
That being said, it doesn’t stop anyone from trying to reach their Everest.
And locals have a brand-new race to consider.
The Hayden, named after Kingaroy’s own Matthew Hayden, will act as Racing Queensland’s qualifying race to determine its slot holder into the inaugural $2.1 million The TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 2.
The race will be run exclusively for three and four-year-old pacers over 2138m at Albion Park on Saturday, July 15.
This race will be restricted to QBRED-only horses, both trained and driven by local participants.
Originally, The Hayden will be run for $100,000 in stakes, with proceeds from the slot auction to contribute further to the prize money pool.
Racing Queensland devised the novel way of launching The Hayden by auctioning barrier slots for the race at the Ladbrokes Sunshine Stars Yearling Sales on the Gold Coast back in March.
The monies raised from the slot auction will see the inaugural edition racing for a grand total of $231,000, leaving RQ officials extremely pleased.
Harshell Investments splurged $19,000 for barrier one, which was equal top price with barrier five (bought by Panasonic Studio Productions).
The key to the auction was that certain barriers were restricted to specific types of horses, for example barrier one must be filled by a three-year-old filly, colt or gelding.
Barrier five was so popular because it’s the best draw available to all four-year-olds, meaning a mare, entire or gelding.
The Hayden will take its place in the 2023 Queensland Constellations Carnival—run as a part of RQ’s NAIDOC celebrations—playing a small but critical role in the Queensland racing industry’s journey towards reconciliation.
RQ will partner with The Hayden Way to generate funds for Shoreline, which has provided education and employment opportunities for Indigenous students since 2009.
The state’s best pacer, Leap To Fame, is not eligible nor is his stablemate, Tims A Trooper, given they’re NSW-bred while proven Group 1 winner Teddy Disco has been ruled out owing to him spelling.
Star filly Jewel Melody is eligible but needed to be under the care of a local trainer by April 1. That didn’t eventuate, which ultimately rules her out of the event.