One of the best trotters in Australia is coming home to her country of her birth after Queen Elida was secured for the TAB slot in the TAB Trot Slot at Cambridge in April.
The five-year-old mare, who is second favourite for the upcoming Inter Dominion Trotting Championship in Queensland, has established a brilliant career record, winning 30 races to date, including seven at Group 1 level.
She is proudly Kiwi-owned by Canterbury trainer Tony Barron, part-breeder Gordon McKenzie and their families. And is trained by ex-pat Kiwi horseman Brent Lilley in Victoria.
Cameron Rodger, the Managing Director – New Zealand for Entain, the operators of TAB – said Queen Elida is a perfect result for a brand-new race on the New Zealand racing calendar with her deep Kiwi roots.
“She is from one of New Zealand’s great trotting families, and the owners – the Barrons and the McKenzies – hail from one of New Zealand harness racing’s great nurseries in Southland,” Cameron Rodger said.
“For this first edition of the TAB Trot Slot, we really wanted to give the race a trans-Tasman flavour and Queen Elida has given us the best of both worlds, as a true-blue equine dual citizen.”
Part-owner Tony Barron said Queen Elida’s owners jumped at the opportunity to partner up with Entain and TAB for the $575,000 feature at Cambridge on April 12.
“We were looking at buying a slot ourselves, but when the TAB approached us, it seemed a great fit,” Tony Barron said.
“Just like everyone, we saw the fantastic promotion the TAB built around I Wish I Win in the Everest and what a great thing it was for our industry.
“There’s a really good energy coming back into the industry here through Entain and the TAB. We’re excited to be part of it and it’s ideal to lock a deal away early so Brent (Lilley) and the team can just focus on her big races.”
The race conditions match those of ‘The Race by Grins’ – a 2200m mobile race, with preferential barrier draws for three-year-olds then mares, ensuring Queen Elida will be well served in the draws.
The TAB Trot Slot is a new addition to the April 12 meeting, joining the $1 million The Race By Grins as another major drawcard on the night.
Cambridge Raceway CEO Dave Branch said the inclusion of Queen Elida on the night will be a huge boost to the night as the club aims for its vision of making the night the pinnacle of harness racing in Australasia.
“On top of The Race by Grins, attracting the best trotters from both sides of the Tasman for the TAB Trot Slot was a key target for us, and we couldn’t be happier that Queen Elida is heading our way as part of the TAB team.”
Queen Elida will contest the Brisbane Inter Dominion from December 1 to 16, then return to Melbourne for some feature races, headed by February’s Great Southern Star, before Lilley sets his sights on the TAB Trot Slot.