Millions to stay here: Singo
MAGIC Millions co-owner John Singleton said his company will work with Queensland Racing Limited (QRL) to ensure its race day and thoroughbred sales remain at the Gold Coast.
Singleton said reports in News Ltd newspapers yesterday of a move to Victoria were premature and the Gold Coast was the venue of choice.
However, Singleton said the facilities at the Gold Coast needed a major upgrade and he hoped an $80 million injection by the state government into racing in Queensland would provide the impetus needed.
“Everyone wants it to stay a Gold Coast event,” Singleton said.
“We had a terrific meeting on Friday with Queensland events and QRL chairman Bob Bentley.
“At this stage we want to stay at the Gold Coast but if the Victorian offer was genuine we would consider it.
“But the Magic Millions works better here, not one of us wants to move.”
Bentley said money allocated to the Gold Coast would go into improving the infrastructure at the track and not into prize money for the races.
“The infrastructure has to be managed properly for the stakeholders,” he said.
“The Gold Coast is a priority.”
The $80 million is to be distributed among the three racing codes with thoroughbred and greyhound administrators in agreement but harness racing authorities have not yet agreed to the terms.
Singleton said if the facilities at the track were improved, he and partners Gerry Harvey and Rob Ferguson would finance an upgrade of the sales complex.
The Magic Millions race day on Saturday had $4.6 million on offer with local filly Military Rose taking out the showpiece $2 million Magic Millions Classic.
After a sluggish start to last week’s yearling sale, Singleton’s Strawberry Hill Stud produced the highest priced lot at Saturday night’s session.
A Redoute’s Choice half-brother to outstanding juvenile Hasna fetched $925,000 and will be trained by David Hayes for BC3 Thoroughbreds.
The average ended up slightly down on 2008 with South African trainer Charles Laird the leading buyer of overall money spent with his purchase of 10 yearlings for $2.86 million.
Meanwhile, Chris Munce’s return to Queensland has been soured by stewards who suspended him for careless riding in the Magic Millions Sprint on Saturday.
Munce had not ridden in Queensland since he won the Group One TJ Smith Stakes at Eagle Farm on Reigning To Win in 2006 and his homecoming was far from a joyous occasion.
Stewards found Munce guilty of allowing Simplest to shift out passing the 200 metres in the Magic Millions Sprint (1000m) when not clear of Sir Monashee.
That horse suffered interference with two others - Al’s Best Mate and Ben Hur - having to be checked. Munce was outed from January 14 to 26.