Northern Winter Cups Circuit – Article by Tony McMahon

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There was further positive news yesterday WEDNESDAY from Racing Queensland’s Brisbane headquarters with the announcement of crucial dates for the Northern Winter Cups Circuit.

While the long running winter racing carnivals from Rockhampton through to Cairns will only be a semblance of their old selves, Cups, Newmarket’s and a new feature race will be run on the one program.

Rockhampton, through its geographical status will maintain its front marker with its feature’s races including the Rockhampton Cup to be staged at Callaghan Park on Friday, July 17.

The card will also hold the running of the Rockhampton Newmarket and a new quality race the Magic Millions Guineas.

Prize money for both the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s Cup and Newmarket will be run at a reduced prize money level as will be the case for the Mackay, Townsville and Cairns counterparts.

The Mackay Turf Club’s Cup and Newmarket is penned-in for July 31 along with the MM Whitsunday Guineas.

A fortnight later it is Townsville’s turn with the Cup, Cleveland Bay Sprint and MM Guineas.

Cairns concludes the revamped and abridged winter schedule on Friday, August 28 with it’s Cup, Newmarket and MM Daintree Guineas.

The Magic Millions Guineas races are for three-year-olds and will carry a $50K purse with the winner of two or more receiving a $25K bonus.

RJC CEO Tony Fenlon said the positive aspect was that at least a Rockhampton Cup and Newmarket would be staged, races that were originally in doubt when the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced.

“Unfortunately, these dates will be patron free which means owners cannot attend and of course the prize money will be reduced”, Fenlon said.

However, he said that in October when it is hoped current restrictive protocols may be lifted a series of additional compensation races were planned to be scheduled.

“These comprise a $35K Beef City Cup (1300m) as well as the Capricornia Sales races for three-year olds and another for the four-and five-year olds.

“The CYS races are restricted to the pool of horses that were eligible for the original 2YO and 3 & 4YO Capricornia Sales races run here back in April. The 3YO race will carry $75K prize money and the other $50K and

those races are something for owners and trainers to look forward to”, Fenlon said.

RQ boss Brendan Parnell said he was elated that the Winter Cups would be run at the four centres over a six weeks period.

The recent creation of the Central and North Coast Region has freed up participation for horses, trainers and jockeys to travel to and from the above mentioned four centres.

Rockhampton jockey Sonja Wiseman is the trailblazer as she has a number of race rides at Townsville today. THURSDAY


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