Millions to be spent on carnival
The Queensland government will spend millions to keep the Magic Millions carnival on the Gold Coast.
Organisers of Magic Millions Racing Carnival and Yearling Sales have threatened in the past to move the event to another state because of poor facilities at the Gold Coast Turf Club.
NSW and Victoria have expressed strong interest in hosting the event, prompting the Queensland government to set aside $15.7 million in Tuesday’s state budget to secure the Gold Coast as the home of the Magic Millions until 2017.
The state government will also spend more than $80 million in redeveloping key racing facilities including the Gold Coast Turf Club.
The club’s chairman, Andrew Eggleston, said the deal should put a smile on the faces of Magic Millions owners Gerry Harvey and John Singleton.
“There’ll be no yearly bagging, so that’ll be good,” he laughed.
Premier Anna Bligh said the $15.7 million would go towards more marketing and promotion and additional activities to enhance the event.
“Magic Millions is the biggest race day in Queensland and the most significant event on the state’s racing calendar and a fixture on the national calendar,” Ms Bligh said.
“It belongs on the Gold Coast and that’s where it’s staying.”
The event, which attracts international and interstate buyers, had a $76 million turnover this year.
Eggleston said plans to upgrade the turf club would be released in coming weeks.
“We’ve cut a deal with Magic Millions that will see them take an area … that they hope to turn into a mini-Flemington with marquees and corporate areas, and that lets the club take back all the corporate areas,” he said.
“Probably over time there should have been more done … but that’s something we’ve taken on board and the club will be in a good financial position now we’ve got corporate areas back and we can build on this.”
The Magic Millions Yearling Sale will be held a week later in 2011, from January 12, with the Magic Millions race day on January 15, giving the event an extra week between the Christmas and New Year festivities.