Dan and Rae Fletcher and the Queensland colts syndicate look set for more group one glory this spring.
Dan and Rae Fletcher and the Queensland colts syndicate look set for more group one glory this spring.

CQ owners stoked to have 2020 Melbourne Cup favourite

IN A boost for country racing, a new sprinting series will accompany this years Country Cups Challenge, providing regional Queensland’s best sprinters and milers with the opportunity to line-up at Doomben over the rich Queensland summer carnival.

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe recently announced the $50,000 Country Stampede which will begin in Longreach and will host the inaugural qualifier on September 26 on Longreach Cup Day.

Throughout September, October and November qualifying heats will be staged throughout country Queensland.

On November 13 at Pioneer Park, the Central Highlands gallopers will get their chance to qualify with the Emerald Jockey Club hosting the Central Highlands Cup over 1615 metres.

It will be a qualifier for the $105,000 country cups final along with a 1100 metres open sprint, a qualifier for the $50,000 country stampede on the same program.

Due to COVID-19 this year’s Battle of the Bush series, which is usually run over the Winter carnival, was cancelled.

The creation of the Country Stampede will give the opportunity for regional Queensland’s best sprinters to win their way through to the Summer Carnival, alongside their middle distance country cup contenders.

The Country Cups Challenge still in its infancy is a highly sought after race for many country racing participants and is a massive end of year highlight on the racing calendar.

This year’s newly created Stampede promises to be just as eventful and will be a great reward for the resilience the racing industry has shown to keep going under tough circumstances.

Under the current path of easing restrictions in Queensland it is highly likely that there will be opportunity for racegoers to be on-course to witness the spectacle in the lead up to the Magic Millions in January.

In order to be eligible for either final, horses may not have won a metropolitan race in the past two years and must have started in one of the 16 qualifiers.

A float subsidy of $750 is available to any Central Queensland trainer who is able to qualify and will be paid to the trainers of horses that remain in the field for both the Country Cups Challenge and Country Stampede after final scratching time.

Melbourne Cup favourite

Russian Camelot, the current 2020 Melbourne Cup favourite, impressed onlookers in a jumpout over 1200m at Flemington on Monday morning.

The Danny O’Brien trained four-year-old was having a hit out in preparation for a 2020 Melbourne Cup campaign and over the short distance he could not have been more impressive winning the jump out.

Russian Camelot’s ownership includes the Central Queensland based Queensland Cup Colts’ Syndicate, a group put together by Dan Fletcher and Rae Fletcher with Bruce and Trudy Roberts from Springsure, Andrew and Angela Schwarz, Terry and Catherine Piggott and Peter and Janine Mahady headlining the syndicate.

Fletcher said with COVID-19 having a strong grip on Melbourne it was unlikely his ownership would be able to attend but it was still extremely exciting times.

To have even the honour of having the favourite in the time honoured 3200 metre event, the syndicate could not be more excited going forward.


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