A spectacular spring season of events in Toowoomba continues with today’s Audi Centre Toowoomba Weetwood race day at Clifford Park Racecourse.
Racing Minister Grace Grace, who will be on hand to present the trophy to the winner of the $150,000 Weetwood Handicap, said it’s always a great day of racing.
“This is one of the biggest events on Queensland’s racing calendar,” Ms Grace said.
“So many great races will be run today, with the Weetwood Handicap, the Toowoomba Cup, the Pat O’Shea Plate and Magic Millions Garden City Guineas all up for grabs.
“It’s such a beautiful time of year to be in Toowoomba, with the Weetwood coinciding once again with the Carnival of Flowers to make the Garden City shine.
“The Palaszczuk Government continues to back the racing industry, which is so vital to our regional communities, creating good jobs and enhancing the great lifestyle we have here in Queensland.
“Under the Palaszczuk Government the economic contribution of the Queensland racing industry has soared by 60% to a record $1.9 billion, supporting nearly 14,000 jobs in the last financial year.
“Racing on the Darling Downs generates more than $145 million for our economy every year, engaging more than 5,700 participants and supporting around 1,100 full-time jobs.
“The Darling Downs also makes a significant contribution to the industry as a major centre for thoroughbred breeding, producing star gallopers like Caulfield Cup winner and Melbourne Cup runner-up, Incentivise.
Toowoomba Turf Club CEO Lizzy King said the Weetwood is the social event of the year.
“To coincide with the traditional Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is a match made in heaven,” Ms King said.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone to Clifford Park.”
The listed Weetwood Handicap is steeped in racing tradition, first run in 1895.
Last year it was Group 1 star and Queensland Horse of the Year finalist, Apache Chase, who took out the honours.
Further enhancing the region’s racing credentials, the Toowoomba Turf Club will host the inaugural King of the Mountain later this year, a $750,000 slot race restricted to Queensland-bred and trained horses.
The new feature race, to be held on New Year’s Eve, will utilise the highly successful slot race concept, with successful applicants to be announced early next month.
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said the state’s racing body was delighted to work with the Toowoomba Turf Club to bring the Mort & Co King of the Mountain to life.
“A race for Queensland-bred horses only is a fantastic initiative, incentivising the local breeding industry and the highly vaunted QTIS scheme, which provides more than $12 million in prize money bonuses each year,” Mr Parnell said.
“We unashamedly want people to back Queensland, buy Queensland, and breed Queensland.”