New Life for Stradbroke Week
The Stradbroke Handicap is a race that has been a part of the Australian racing industry since 1890. It was named in honor of legendary architect Lord Stradbroke, and was catapulted into the premier racing arena when it raised its stakes to $1 000 000 in 1996. Stradbroke Week is known as an event that is focused on racing, and in the year 2000 AAMI became the sponsor of this much anticipated racing event on the Brisbane calendar.
With a hundred and twenty seven years of racing action attributed to the Stradbroke Handicap, it should not have been such a great surprise when the Queensland Events Corporation announced that they planned on throwing their full weight into a marketing campaign for Stradbroke Week. The organisation’s plans to promote the event, not only as a magnificent racing experience but as a tourist attraction, and to expand their marketing to reach a wider community base, is a joint venture with the Queensland Turf Club. There is also a great possibility that the Queen’s Birthday holiday might be moved to the Monday after the Stradbroke Handicap, offering greater racing opportunities surrounding the race day. For example, The Oaks racing events are usually held on the Saturday before Stradbroke, and it might also be included as a part of the Stradbroke week.
There have also been rumours that the Brisbane Cup might not be held at the Queensland Turf Club in the future, as many in the racing industry have suggested the moving of the Queensland Guineas, the Brisbane Cup and the T.J. Smith races to the Stradbroke events. The move will mean a greater line up for the race day that already is host to the Sir Douglas Wadley Stakes, Derby Stakes and the Lightning Stakes.
Even though most of the changes are mere speculation, the support from the Queensland Events Corporation is definitely going to breathe new life into the Stradbroke Week events. The one million dollar handicap is raced over a distance of one thousand four hundred meters at the Eagle Farm racecourse. Unfortunately, owners take their horses to the races with the highest purses, and prize money is always a lure. Getting support from various industries able to assist in the marketing and promotional aspects of the Stradbroke Handicap can hopefully bring the race day to the attention of visitors and nurture it into a noteworthy attraction. On 7 June 2008, race day will once again commence, and the Stradbroke Handicap in Australia will welcome a new winner to its history boards.