Queensland racing is coming back strong from ground zero with massive increases in money

It wasn’t long ago that racing in Queensland was seen by many as a basket case, but now it has become a bonanza.

A $3 million Stradbroke Handicap, a boosted Gold Coast Magic Millions day with lucrative new races and a pair of new slot races.

And prize increases in general.

Horses can’t race all year and Victoria and NSW will still capture most of the good horses and punters’ eyes.


But Queensland made great inroads.

Just seven years ago a KPMG administrator was put in temporary charge of racing in the state as claims emerged of financial turmoil in Racing Queensland.

When untold millions in prize money disappeared from Queensland racing under tough austerity measures, jockeys threatened to walk off the job and top trainers Tony Gollan and Rob Heathcote went to war with the state government.

Even as recently as during the Covid pandemic, the prestigious Stradbroke Handicap was run for just $350,000 when Tyzone won it in 2020.

That year the winter carnival was almost cancelled, with only two Group 1s left standing.

But from dark and troubled times Queensland racing has come back to life.

The controversial point of increasing consumption tax for corporate bookies has seen several rivers of gold flow into Queensland, leading to more than $31 million in increases this week.

You can’t please everyone, but only a fool would say that banana-bending racing isn’t much more appealing now.

Let’s not forget, too, that the first-class Eagle Farm track, so often in the doldrums over the last decade, is now finally running well.

It is a fascinating development that new laws have come into play, ending the TAB’s on-track exclusivity at Queensland racecourses.

Ladbrokes has reached a deal with Brisbane Racing Club which will see new innovations for punters and patrons at Eagle Farm and Doomben, including the introduction of Ladbrokes betting parlors.

If you’re a Ladbrokes customer, you can expect a free beer on arrival in the lounge and a premium, funky betting experience in one of the best rooms on the ground.

The TAB – which has retained its agreement with other Queensland racing clubs – freely admits it needs to do better in the Sunshine State and elsewhere.

TAB Queensland’s innovation and customer focus should surely improve tenfold after seeing its red-hot competitor (Ladbrokes) partner with Queensland’s biggest racing club.


He must and will raise his game.

It is understood there could be big changes at the TAB and Queensland’s Sky Racing station quite soon.

Queensland racing is in a great place, but you still have to be careful how hard the golden goose squeezes.

Covid ended up regenerating betting, but turnover levels have already started to adjust.

If there are further increases in GST or GST and they tip too far, corporate bookmakers may drop Queensland racing altogether or significantly reduce their offerings in the Sunshine State.

Originally published as Racing in Queensland, it finally kicks off after years of horror

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