TAB Constellations – the new star of Australian Harness Racing

The inaugural 2021 TAB Constellations carnival has set a new benchmark for Queensland harness racing, with record betting turnover, sell-out crowds and an all-star line-up of participants from both sides of the Tasman.

A combined $18.5 million was wagered across the carnival, a 54% increase from the last winter carnival held in 2019.

Betting turnover records tumbled, with $5.9 million in bets placed on the final night of the carnival – the TAB Blacks a Fake on Saturday 24th July.

The overall carnival result was boosted by the creation of the richest race in the southern hemisphere for three and four-year-old pacers, according to Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairperson Brad Steele.

“Adam Hamilton summed up brilliantly when he said it’s (The AQWA Constructions Rising Sun) the best new race harness racing has seen since the first running of the Miracle Mile way back in 1967,” Mr Steele said.

“Working in partnership with Racing Queensland, we were very deliberate in our intent to establish and co-create a real destination event on the Queensland and Australasian harness racing calendar.

“We saw the best talent from across Australia and New Zealand converge on the sunshine state for five weeks of scintillating action.

“These stars shone early with the Lucky Creed attracting an all-class field, a pace that was maintained across five incredible weeks of racing.”

Despite COVID limitations throughout the carnival, the TAB Constellations was the most successful winter carnivals in decades.

“All our hospitality packages were well supported across the carnival, with all packages selling-out for our final event, the TAB Blacks A Fake”, Mr Steele said.

“This included full-houses in our new Creek Bar which opened in late 2020 and our new TAB Greenhouse Winning Post precinct which debuted at the carnival in partnership with TAB.

“The innovations to this year’s carnival also included the addition of the 1Equine Golf Day, the Breakfast with the Stars, Jockeys & Drivers Challenge and barrier draw events.

“With the support of our sponsor AQWA Constructions, we saw one lucky racegoer win themselves a $30,000 bathroom, while our King for a Day competition saw a family from Nundah win a 5% share in King of Swing and owners experience for the TAB Blacks A Fake.

“On behalf of my fellow Board Members we wish to acknowledge and thank all our wonderful staff for the great job they did to ensure we had safe racing and excellent patron experiences.

“We thank our terrific partners, AQWA Constructions, Garrard’s Horse & Hound and TAB for their continued support, along with all members and guests who turned out in big numbers to support the carnival.”

Mr Steele confirmed that The Creek and Racing Queensland had already completed feedback sessions to identify further improvements to next year’s carnival.

“We hope to be able to make some exciting announcements over the next few months,” Mr Steele said.