In a funding package delivered by Racing Queensland to the three racing codes earlier this week came the announcement under the harness racing section that the Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint will have a prize money increase to $100,000 and rightfully be returned to Group 1 status.
The 2019 running of the Group 1 $100,000 Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint will be conducted at Albion Park on Saturday evening July 13 on the second night of the TAB Winter Carnival.
Chris Garrard (OAM), the long term sponsor of the Sunshine Sprint said ‘the announcement was great news not only for participants in Queensland but the entire harness racing industry. This is the Sunshine State and it is a race that Queenslanders can claim as their own’. He then joked ‘I only wish that I could get one good enough to race in it’.
Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman David Fowler thanked the Garrard family on behalf of the Club for their continuous long term sponsorship of this time honored and prestigious feature event.
The Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint is certainly worthy of its Group 1 status, since the races inception in 1969 when the bonny mare Teeny Reena partnered by Brian Hancock took out the inaugural edition of this sought after feature there has been a cavalcade of champions over the years that have also added their name to the honour board.
Koala King won it in 1976, four years before going on to win the 1980 Inter Dominion and the legendary Paleface Adios became the first horse to win the race twice, backing up his 1973 win with another success in 1978.
On the opening night of the new Albion Park 5/8th mile track in 1983, Joe Ilsley drove Amazing Trick to victory in a time of 1.59.4 to break the two minute barrier with Queenslander Wondai’s Mate successful in 1986 while another Inter Dominion winner in Thorate won it in the bi-centennial year of 1988.
Into the new millennium and more big names of harness racing were etched onto the trophy including ‘Hall Of Famer’ Blacks A Fake with victories in 2007 and 2011, Mr Feelgood in 2010, Avonnova in 2015 and Hectorjayjay going back to back in 2016 and 2017.
West Australian, Im Themightyquinn set the Albion Park track record for the mile journey of 1.50.4 when saluting for the father and son Hall stable in 2014.
Silks Trackside Marquee and the famous seafood buffet will be open during the course of the TAB Winter Carnival on Saturdays 6, 13, & 20 July with bookings available by phoning the Club on 07 3262 2577.