We are approaching the business end of the Brisbane Winter Carnival and horseracing fans can look forward to a plethora of exciting races in the weeks ahead. They will lure some of the finest sprinters and stayers from across Australia and further afield to Eagle Farm to battle it out for fame and fortune. Fans have already been dazzled by the likes of the Doombeen 10000, the BTC Cup and the Doomben Cup. These are the five most exciting Brisbane Winter Carnival races left to look forward to:
This $1.5 million contest is the headline event of the Brisbane Winter Carnival and it has now returned to its traditional home at Eagle Farm. The distance has gone back up to 1400m for 2019 and it will be a ferociously contested race between some of the top horses in the land. The Stradbroke Handicap odds show that The Bostonian is the favourite to salute, ahead of Home Of The Brave, Encryption, Widgee Turf and Victorem. Tony Pike’s four-year-old has already clinched the Doomben 10,000 and the Kingsford-Smith Cup and now he can wrap up Queensland’s Group 1 sprinting Triple Crown by winning the Stradbroke. The last favourite to win this race was Black Piranha in 2009 and roughies have done well in recent years, so hope springs eternal for the other contenders, but The Bostonian has displayed superb pace and endurance this winter and he is certainly the one to beat after his eye-catching performance at the Kingsford-Smith Cup.
This is the premier staying event for three-year-olds during the Brisbane winter racing period and it has been running since 1868. It will be held at Eagle Farm on Saturday, June 8, along with the Stradbroke Handicap and several more top races. The Group 1 Queensland Derby is known as the final three-year-old classic of the season and it boasts a prize pool of $600,000, ensuring a strong field. Recent winners include Dark Dream, Ruthven and Sonntag. Nobu is the favourite to follow in their footsteps after he saluted in the Mizuno Handicap over 2000m last weekend. It was a gutsy performance as he reeled in Carif and lunged on the line to secure the victory. It followed a fine win at Randwick’s Kensington track at the start of May and he is in excellent form ahead of this race, although it will be interesting to see if Carif can gain sweet revenge.
JJ Atkins Stakes
This Group 1 race was formerly known as The TJ Smith and it also carries prize money of $600,000. It is the final group race of the carnival for two-year-old gallopers, who race for 1600m at set weights. The Autumn Sun won it last year and then went on to win four more Group 1 races and rack up $3.5 million in earnings before he was retired to stud with a service fee of $77,000. “The Winter Racing Carnival is the true nursery of Australian feature racing with so many of the nation’s greatest racehorses showcasing the benefits of racing here,” said BRC chairman Neville Bell. “We’ve had Black Caviar and Winx in recent years and now the likes of The Autumn Sun looms amongst the next wave of stars.” It is another contest with a fine heritage and it has been entertaining the good people of Brisbane since 1893. Reloaded and Accession are among the budding superstars heading the betting for this year’s JJ Atkins Stakes.
The Group 2 Queensland Guineas takes place over 1600m at Eagle Farm and recent winners include Sambro, Salsonic and Tsarita. It always attracts a talented bunch of three-year-olds from local stables and further afield. Horses with proven ability over a mile and the potential to improve have typically fared well here over the years. Middle distance gallopers with form over the distance, coming off a top three finish in a Brisbane lead-up race, are worth looking out for. You will also find some interesting gallopers that have run in Group 1 company over a mile earlier in the year and look set to relish a step down in quality.
The Group 1 Tatts Tiara is the feature race on Saturday, June 22, at Eagle Farm, and it will bring some of the classiest mares in the business to Brisbane this year. It is a relative newcomer compared to the grand old races of the carnival – it began life in 1989 as the Winter Stakes and it was renamed the Tatersall’s Tiara in 2011 – but it is already one of the most prestigious contests of the year. It is run over a distance of 1400m and it is open to fillies and mares aged three and older. Recent winners include Tycoon Tiara and Srikandi, who secured the Stradbroke Handicap-Tatts Tiara double in 2015. The Stradbroke is the ideal lead-up to this race, so keep a close eye on developments there, and the Dane Ripper can also yield Tatts Tiara winners.