The national racing spotlight is firmly on the Gold Coast every summer for the running of the Magic Millions Raceday, which in 2016 will become Australia’s richest raceday offering $10 million in prizemoney over a nine race program. This meeting forms the grand final of the Queensland Summer Racing Carnival with the feature races being the $2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) and the $2m Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m).
The GCTC also hosts one of the key meetings of the Queensland winter carnival with the running of the Hollindale Stakes (1800m), Prime Minster’s Cup (1300m) and Gold Coast Guineas (1300m) every May.
The GCTC’s major races
$2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m)
After the initial Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale was introduced on the Gold Coast in 1986, the inaugural Magic Millions Classic made its debut the following year when the brilliant Snippets raced to victory over Prince Anton and Mother Duck. Snippets was an outstanding juvenile and cemented the reputation of this world first sales-restricted race concept.
Run every January, the Magic Millions Classic now carries total prizemoney of $2m, making it one of the richest two-year-old races in the world. In 2013 Magic Millions introduced the ground-breaking Racing Women initiative to promote female participation in the industry. Since that year a $500,000 Bonus in addition to race prizemoney has been awarded to the first four all female owned or leased horses past the post.
The honour board of the Classic exudes quality and includes the likes of Bold Promise (1991), Clan O’Sullivan (1992), Brave Warrior (1994), General Nediym (1997), Testa Rossa (1999), Assertive Lad (2000), Regimental Gal (2003), Bradbury’s Luck (2005), Mimi Lebrock (2007), Military Rose (2010) and Driefontein (2012). In 2004, Dance Hero became the first two-year-old to complete the Magic Millions-Golden Slipper double, a feat that was emulated by Queensland’s Phelan Ready in 2009.
$2m Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m)
First run in 2001, the Magic Millions Guineas will double in prizemoney in 2016 to be worth $2m. The race has continued to evolve throughout its history to be much sought after event with many trainers from interstate competing for victory. From the Victorian three-year-old Paradiddle, which won the inaugural running in 2001, to the Ron Maund-trained Gold Edition, which became the first Queensland-trained winner of the race when she raced to a brilliant victory in 2007. Recent star winners of the Guineas include Torio’s Quest (2011), Saluter (2012), Sweet Idea (2014) and Deiheros (2015).
Five other races on Magic Millions Raceday program now offer $1m in race prizemoney.
$1m Magic Millions Cup (1400m)
$1m Magic Millions Sprint (1100m)
$1m Magic Millions Fillies & Mares (1300m)
$1m Magic Millions Trophy (1800m)
$1m Magic Millions QTIS (1300m)
Current information on the Magic Millions Raceday Program can be found at here.
$100,000 Listed Goldmarket Hcp (1300m)
THE Goldmarket is the oldest of the GCTC’s feature races, dating back to 1963 when won by the outstanding mare Emborne (the winner again in 1964). The Goldmarket began its life as the Newmarket Handicap, run by the Southport & District Amateur Race Club. The club was renamed the Gold Coast Turf Club in 1965 and the race became the Goldmarket Hcp in 1973. The Goldmarket has been run over various distances but is now a 1300-metre race held in January. Since 1969, the Goldmarket has been sponsored by Carlton & United, one of the longing sponsorship associations in Australian racing. The Goldmarket, which achieved Listed status in 1994, has been won by some outstanding gallopers, including Emborne (1963-64), Charlton Boy (1973-74), Blue’s Finito ((1976-77), Cole Diesel (1989), Tiny’s Finito (1991) and Black Piranha (2009). Champion jockeys Mick Dittman and Mel Schumacher share the Goldmarket riding record with five wins each.
$100,000 Listed Prime Minister’s Cup (1400m)
BEFORE the introduction of the Magic Millions carnival, the Prime Minister’s Cup was the Gold Coast’s best-known race. Introduced in 1974, the Prime Minister’s Cup meeting has always been a key part of the Queensland winter carnival. A 2400-metre race for much of its existence, the Prime Minister’s Cup was a vital lead-up race to races like the Doomben Cup and Brisbane Cup. Tough Kiwi stayer Avitt won the Prime Minister’s Cup three times from 1982-84. Another New Zealander, Prized Gem, became the first stayer to complete the PM’s Cup-Brisbane Cup double in 2002.
The Prime Minister’s Cup received a makeover in 2006 and was transformed into a sprint race. Now run over 1300m, the Prime Minister’s Cup remains one of the key races of the Queensland winter carnival. Only two serving Prime Ministers have actually attended the meeting – Malcolm Fraser (1982) and John Howard (1999).
$358,000 Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m)
This weight-for-age race, named in honour of the former GCTC chairman Alan Hollindale, carries Group 2 status and is therefore the Gold Coast’s most prestigious black-type race. Introduced in 1989 and added to the Prime Minister’s Cup meeting in May, the Hollindale Stakes always attracts a quality field. It was granted Listed status in 1991, then was upgraded to Group 3 in 1993 and then to Group 2 in 1996. The Hollindale has been won by some of Australia’s finest gallopers of the past two decades. Outstanding New Zealander Rough Habit won twice in 1991-92, Durbridge took the prize in 1994 and Shogun Lodge scored back-to-back victories in 2000-2001. The 1998 running of the Hollindale was something special with the appearance of the champion Might And Power, winner of the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double the previous year. Might And Power is the finest horse to ever grace the GCTC and has an onc-course bar named in his honour.
$125,000 Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m)
The Guineas was added to the Prime Minister’s Cup carnival in 2000. It was initially a 1400m event but was switched to 1200m in 2006. The race has earned its Group 3 status after a series of high-class winners, including Eremein (2005), Fashions Afield (2006) and Gold Edition (2007).
$150,000 Listed Silk Stocking (1200m)
The Silk Stocking, now run in May, is a Listed race for fillies and mares. The race was introduced in 1991 as a 1400m race, but was switched to 1200m in 2005.
$125,000 Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m)
The Bracelet, for three-year-old fillies, is run in May and is a key lead-up to the Queensland Oaks. It was added to the Prime Minister’s Cup meeting in 2006 when taken out by the Sydney filly Super Lacuna.
$125,000 Ken Russell Memorial Classic (1200m)
This listed two-year-old race has been around since 1974 and now carries the name of the former champion Gold Coast jockey Ken Russell. It attained Listed status in 1984 and, after a number of distance changes, is now run over 1200m in May.