A new night-time $3m slot race for three-year-olds will act as a precursor for Magic Millions day as part of dramatic revamp to the Queensland summer carnival.
The 1100m sprint will be run on the Friday night before Magic Millions day from 2025, with the Gold Coast to undergo a dramatic redevelopment this year.
Billed as a “summertime Coolmore”, the race, which is yet to be named, will not be restricted to Magic Millions horses only.
It opens the door for officials to lengthen the distance of the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas to avoid a clash.
Feature races on Magic Millions day will also receive a huge boost, with the 2yo Classic and 3yo Guineas getting pumped up from $2m to $3m from next year.
They join the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap as Queensland’s richest races. It means the Sunshine State will host four $3m races a year.
Outgoing Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell said the summer revamp had been a long time in the making.
With Queensland now set to host three slot races a year, Parnell conceded there was a risk of overdoing the new concept, but said significant work had gone into ensuring it fell at the right time of the year.
“There is a risk (of dilution) but we have done a lot of work on the pattern, there is a big gap there for a sprint race at that time of the year,” he said.
“The Magic Millions Guineas stands out, but this is a different sort of race.”
With details still to be finalised, slots are likely to cost around $175,000 each when they go to market.
A new $1m two-year-old race will also be inserted into the winter calendar, to attract sprinting juveniles to Queensland.
“We are adding an 1100m two-year-old race in the winter, not to cannibalise the Sires’ or the JJ Atkins we have made it a sprint race for Magic Millions horses on the night before the (Queensland) Derby,” Parnell said.
“We will build a winter program around that, there will be a new meeting under lights.”
A host of other changes are expected to be made to the Magic Millions day, with The Debut set to be split into two races for separate sexes.
The turf track at the Gold Coast will be ripped up on Monday as part of a $63m redevelopment, with racing expected to return in time for the 2024 Magic Millions.
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