The inaugural TAB Queensland Constellations is set to sparkle this winter.
Having enjoyed a $500,000 stakes increase, more than $2 million in prize money and bonuses will go on the line, with not one but two new Group 1s headlining the Sunshine State’s flagship harness racing carnival.
To commence three action-packed weeks at Albion Park, the Group 1 Rising Sun – the richest race in the Southern Hemisphere for three and four-year-old pacers – will make its highly anticipated debut on July 10.
The following week, The Golden Girl, an all-new Group 1 for fillies and mares, will anchor a mouth-watering card that includes the Sunshine Sprint.
The final night of the carnival will feature an incredible six Group 1s, with the Queensland Derby and Oaks, the QBRED Triad Finals, and the Queensland Trotters Cup supporting the TAB Blacks A Fake, one of only seven Grand Circuit events across Australasia.
“The spotlight is ready to shine on the TAB Queensland Constellations and the nation’s brightest harness stars,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“Off the back of an incredible Summer Carnival, we look forward to unveiling the Constellations and hosting six weeks of electrifying racing at Albion Park and Redcliffe.”
In total, the Constellations will feature 11 Group 1s with the addition of the Rising Sun and The Golden Girl.
As part of the Rising Sun conditions, two wildcards for three-year-olds can be offered, as well as two invites to Australasia’s best four-year-old, with newly-crowned Chariots of Fire winner, Expensive Ego, the first to be invited to the event.
Since being purchased at the APG Brisbane Yearling Sale in 2018, Expensive Ego has gone on to capture 12 of 16 starts – placing in a further two races – with more than $300,000 in stakes and three Group 1 victories.
“With a galaxy of stars set to compete over winter, Albion Park looks forwards to hosting a spectacular program of events both on and off the track at The Creek,” APHRC Chairman Brad Steele said.
“Boasting 11 Group 1s – and two $250,000 features – harness racing in Queensland continues to improve and strengthen.”
Black-type racing will commence on the Peninsula with heats of the Group 1 Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale 2YO Final being staged on June 18.
The opening night of the Constellations will also feature the Group 3 Redcliffe Yearling Sale 3YO Final and the listed Patrons Purse for four-year-olds and five-year-olds.
The following week, the first Group 1 of the carnival will be run and won, with the Group 2 Redcliffe Cup also anchoring the feature night on June 26.
“It’s fantastic to be part of the TAB Queensland Constellations,” Redcliffe Harness Racing Club President Bernie Ring said.
“It has been a difficult period for everyone, but racing has led the way, and we look forward to hosting our Group features and seeing everyone on the Peninsula.”
Click here to see the full schedule for the 2021 TAB Queensland Constellations.