For four weeks, the eyes of the nation will turn to our town for the Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival.
As well as featuring four of Australia’s best race days (all to be held at Doomben Racecourse), this year’s Carnival will also feature world-class live entertainment, flawless fashions on the field, and some of the biggest events on Brisbane’s social calendar.
The fun kicks off on Saturday 9 May with UBET Cup Carnivale Day, which will bring together two of Brisbane’s biggest racedays — the $500,000 BTC Cup and the $650,000 Doomben Cup — for the first time.
“These are two very contrasting races,” says Matt Rafton from Brisbane Racing Club. “One is a sprint race over 1200 metres and the other is really for the stayers, so it gives punters a chance to see the sprinters and the stayers on the same day.”
If you’re not all that interested in the difference between a sprinter and a stayer, don’t worry – UBET Cup Carnivale Day is the social day of the carnival, as Rafton encourages punters to “dress up, get excited, come out and enjoy the day”, with entertainment on offer that will appeal to even the most casual racing fan.
“We’re really excited to be launching the Carnival this year with Jessica Mauboy,” Rafton reveals. “She’ll be performing after the last race on UBET Cup Carnivale Day. She’s one of Australia’s leading entertainers at the moment, and we think she’ll be a great fit with the colour and the excitement and the social atmosphere of that first day of the Carnival. We’re kicking things off with a big bang!”
The action continues on Saturday 23 May with The James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10,000 Day, one of Australia’s most thrilling weight-for-age races. The $750,000 purse makes this an unmissable event for racing enthusiasts, while off the track, The Choirboys will keep the party going well after the last race.
Stunning dresses, gorgeous shoes and extravagant fascinators will dominate the third race day, the Treasury Casino & Hotel Ladies’ Oaks Day, on Saturday 30 May. This is when the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre Fashions on the Field will really heat up, with florals and laces typifying the ladylike glamour and grace of the occasion.
“Definitely check out the fashion themes for each day,” Rafton advises, “because there are a few new themes this year that everyone needs to keep an eye out for. The first day, UBET Cup Carnivale, is all about colour. We think people will really embrace that theme. The 10,000, the second day, is all about structured fashion and metallic accessories. My tip is to read up on our style guide, presented by Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, which has images to help people get their look and theme together, at www.brc.com.au.”
The Brisbane Racing Carnival’s grand finale, AAMI Stradbroke Day on Saturday 6 June, is one of the nation’s most prestigious days of racing, with $4.4 million to be won across three Group 1 and three Group 2 races.
“Stradbroke Day is undoubtedly Queensland’s biggest race day,” Rafton says. “It’s comparable to any day in the southern races, and there’s no real comparison to it anywhere else in Queensland, that’s for sure.”
Last year’s Carnival introduced The Birdcage to Brisbane, and that exclusive marquee will return this year to wine and dine Brisbane’s social set.
“It really is just an absolute first class offering of hospitality,” Rafton says. “There’s no better ticket. It’s the best vantage point on the track, and you can almost feel the horses thundering past. Couple that with a world-class food and beverage offering – we’re very pleased to have ARIA on board to cater for The Birdcage, and Matt Moran will be up on Stradbroke Day to see his team’s work firsthand – and it’s really where Brisbane’s social set comes out to play.”
New to this year’s Carnival is the Little Brisbane precinct, which will bring three of Brisbane’s best restaurants – ARIA, Moda and The Boatshed – trackside on Ladies’ Oaks Day and Stradbroke Day. There are also a range of dining packages available for punters at this year’s event, starting from just $65.
For the social butterflies, the action on the track is just the beginning. The Stradbroke Eve Calcutta, at Brisbane City Hall on Friday 5 June, will give you a chance to bid on and buy a horse running in the AAMI Stradbroke, and the Carnival Ball – at Doomben Racecourse on Saturday 16 May – is once again expected to be a highlight of the program, with Carnival ambassador Kimberley Busteed in attendance.
“The great thing about Kimberley is that she has a true passion for horse racing,” Rafton says. “She’s a former Miss Universe Australia, but she has a real background in racing as well. Her grandfather was actually a bookie, so she’s been in racing circles all of her life!”
What’s on at the Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival
Saturday 9 May – UBET Cup Carnivale Day (Doomben Racecourse)
Saturday 16 May – Carnival Ball (Satchel Room, Doomben Racecourse)
Saturday 23 May – James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10,000 Day (Doomben Racecourse)
Friday 29 May – Carnival High Tea (Grand Ballroom, Marriott Hotel)
Saturday 30 May – Treasury Casino & Hotel Ladies’ Oaks Day (Doomben Racecourse)
Thursday 4 June – Members’ Cocktail Party (The Birdcage, Doomben Racecourse)
Friday 5 June – Stradbroke Eve Calcutta (Main Auditorium, Brisbane City Hall)
Saturday 6 June – AAMI Stradbroke Day (Doomben Racecourse)
For more information, visit www.brc.com.au