Racing Queensland unveils new conditions for The Gateway
The Stradbroke Handicap (Gr 1, 1400m) will have a slot component to it next year, with racing officials in Queensland changing the condition of next month’s The Gateway (1400m), which will affect the line-up for the Group 1. In the past, winners of The Gateway, a $250,000 race restricted to four-year-olds, have been granted ballot-free entry into the $3 million Stradbroke Handicap the following winter, however winning connections will now win a slot into the race instead.
This new conditions means the owners of The Gateway winner will have the option to run their own horse or negotiate with other owners and trainers to fill their slot in the Stradbroke. The horse that fills the slot will have to be in the top 40 order of entry when the final acceptances are released the week before the race, which will be run next year at Eagle Farm on June 14.
While Tick Tock Queen (Bel Esprit) won The Gateway last year and subsequently finished eighth of 18 runners in the Stradbroke, the race has had varying success, producing subsequent Group 1 winners Apache Chase (Better Than Ready) in 2021 and Vega One (Lope De Vega) two years earlier. “The Stradbroke Handicap is Queensland’s most prestigious and sought-after race, and The Gateway remains a perfect platform to secure their berth in the record-breaking $3 million feature,” Racing Queensland chief executive Jason Scott said.
“We have worked closely with the Brisbane Racing Club to refine the race, ensuring that our Winter Carnival centrepiece has the strongest possible field. “The owners are an integral part of our industry, and this new innovation gives them the power to ensure they are represented with the best possible chance in claiming the famous Stradbroke.” Stradbroke slot holding connections will be free to sell their spot in the race for an agreed fee or negotiate a prize-money sharing agreement with other owners. “The slot will help bolster the quality of The Gateway and create plenty of intrigue in the lead up to the Stradbroke over the following six months,” Brisbane Racing Club head of commercial and racing Matt Rudolph said. The Gateway will be run at Eagle Farm on December 9.