- Melbourne Cup of the Outback’ set to field participants from 5 states and territories including Group 1 winning trainer
- 142 acceptances across both days with 142 horses, 26 trainers and 20 jockeys from QLD, SA, NSW, VIC & NT
Acceptances for the 2023 Birdsville Races have been released, with 142 acceptances across the iconic carnival’s two-day, 13-race program, set to run this weekend on Friday September 1st & Saturday 2nd.
The ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’ has attracted a high-calibre race field for the 141st edition, with acceptances from QLD, NSW, SA and NT – including multiple Group 1 winner trainer Phillip Stokes who will saddle locally owned Neodium in the TAB Birdsville Cup. Neodium will be ridden by Irish born and now Adelaide based jockey Emily Finnegan, having her first taste of the Australian Outback at the bucket list event. Stokes won’t be on course but he has a long connection with the area with father Ron having grown up on the Birdsville track and having lived in Birdsville as a young child in the late 1940’s.
Top weight in the Cup will be Deep Breath, lumping 63.5 under the preparation of leading Queensland country trainer Bevan Johnson after Bollente was an early scratching, opting to forgo the 68kg’s allocated by the handicapper.
“We’re thrilled to have such strong race fields after a slower return to the event last year following Covid postponements. We’ve got ideal weather conditions forecast and are back to pre-Covid fields – it’s going to be an awesome weekend of racing and our biggest meet yet in terms of prize money,” said Gary Brook, Vice President The Birdsville Race Club.
Territorian trainer and 2022 Birdsville Cup winning trainer Phillip Cole (Darwin, NT) leads the field with 13 horses accepted. He’s followed by Bevan Johnson (Barcaldine, QLD) with 11 horses accepted and Rodney Hay (Chinchilla, Qld) with 10 horses.
Also fielding runners over the carnival will be former Birdsville Cup winning trainers Craig Smith (Roma, QLD) 2012 and 2017 and Jay Morris (Mount lsa, QLD) who clenched the Cup in 2011 and 2015.
The final field in the TAB Birdsville Cup will collectively journey more than 10,000kms, from places as far away as Adelaide (SA), Sunshine Coast (QLD) and Darwin (NT).
The Birdsville Races offers prize money for the 13-race carnival topping more than $300,000 – an increase of 15% on 2022, while the coveted TAB Birdsville Cup is increasing nearly 20% from $42,000 in 2022 to $50,000 in 2023.
The increases in the Birdsville Races prize pool are part of the distribution of increased funding for thoroughbred racing that was announced by Racing Queensland and Queensland State Government in December 2022.
The total prize pool for the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival, which includes the Birdsville Races as well as the Betoota and Bedourie Races, now sits at a record $452,000 – making it the richest two weeks of racing in Outback Queensland.
With only days to go until the 2023 Birdsville Races kicks off, event organisers are preparing for thousands of punters to converge on the remote town for a bucket-list bumper weekend program of thoroughbred horse racing, and iconic Outback entertainment and activities.
The Birdsville Races are supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar, worth $800m to the state’s economy in 2019.
To view full acceptances for this year’s Birdsville Races, click on the links below:
Acceptances: Friday 1st September:
Acceptances: Saturday 2nd September:
Punters across Australia will also be able to experience all the action of the 13-race line-up from the Birdsville Races on Sky Racing.