Country-trained horses in Queensland will compete in a new series culminating in a $100,000 final to be run at Doomben during the winter carnival.
The $260,000 Battle of the Bush series will have 16 qualifiers from eight country regions contesting the final on June 23.
To be eligible to compete in a qualifying race, a horse must have started in a minimum of five non-TAB races in Queensland in the 12 months immediately preceding the acceptance date for that race.
It is designed specifically for horses competing in non-TAB events.
Racing Queensland has recruited former leading Australian trainer Peter Moody, who began his career in western Queensland before heading to Melbourne, to help promote the series.
“Racing is a way of life for people living in country and regional Queensland, and I welcome any new idea which aims to shine the spotlight on the hard-working participants that exist within these regions,” Moody said.
“I look forward to watching how the first series unfolds and how it continues to develop in the years to come.”
The 16 qualifying races across eight Queensland racing regions will be worth $10,000 each with the first at Cunnamulla on April 25 and the last at Barcaldine on June 9.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the prize money was sure to attract huge interest in country Queensland.
“It will also showcase the talent of our bush gallopers,” he said.
RQ chief executive Eliot Forbes said the Battle of the Bush would play an important role in RQ’s new Country and Provincial Racing Series’ announced in 2017.
“The announcement complements a number of exciting announcements in the past year supporting country and regional areas, including the $6 million country and regional capital works program that is currently underway,” he said.