Flame To Decide Queensland's Phoenix Slot

A place in the inaugural The TAB Phoenix will be up for grabs when the Listed Queensland Flame is staged at Albion Park in early December.

Adam Dobbin

20 October 2021

A place in the inaugural The TAB Phoenix will be up for grabs when the Listed Queensland Flame is staged at Albion Park in early December.

The series, exclusively for Queensland trained greyhounds, will kickstart the TAB Golden Greys Summer Racing Carnival at Albion Park on November 25 and December 2.

And while the Listed 520-metre feature boasts prize money of a tidy $37,500 there’s far more on the line with winning connections securing a berth in the $1.145m The TAB Phoenix (525m) at The Meadows on December 18.

Last month, Racing Queensland (RQ) was announced as one of eight successful slot holders for the lucrative event which carries a first prize of $750,000 and required a $75,000 buy-in.

Based loosely on the hugely successful The Everest in thoroughbred racing, interest around The Phoenix is growing rapidly with RQ CEO Brendan Parnell excited about the prospect of a Queensland star competing against the nation’s best on the big stage.

“The Queensland Flame provides our best greyhounds with the chance to compete on the national stage through The Phoenix,” Parnell said.

“The race will set the stage as the perfect opening event for the TAB Golden Greys Summer Racing Carnival, which continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Kevin Ellis will chase the Queensland Flame with Impact

“We look forward to the inaugural running of the Queensland Flame, and thank the collaborative efforts of the Brisbane GRC for their assistance in being able to deliver this innovative product.”

Given the congested nature of the feature race calendar, RQ has offered exemption opportunities to proceed directly into the Queensland Flame Final.

They include any Queensland-trained finalist in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup, while automatic entry will also be handed to the winner of the Group 2 Ipswich Cup on November 11.

A leading candidate for Queensland’s The Phoenix slot is sprinter of the moment Impact.

Trained by Kevin Ellis, Impact has won 17 of his 25 starts including his last eight on the trot, the most recent of those a mind-blowing near record 30.09 romp at Ipswich on Tuesday.

“For $750,000 he and I would walk to Melbourne given the chance,” Ellis joked.

“In all seriousness though I’m just focusing on the Ipswich Cup at the moment. After that going to this new race makes the most sense and if we’re fortunate enough to secure that spot we’d take it proudly.

“But things can change pretty quickly in greyhound racing so I never look too far ahead. The dog has always been able to gallop, he’s special, but I’ve noticed in the past month a positive change in his temperament.

“To be a chance in a race like that he needs to grow up and mature and he is.”

Racing Queensland will offer a unique ownership opportunity with the Queensland Flame which will see competition entrants have the chance to be an owner for the day and be represented by one of the eight finalists.

The winning owner will then travel to Melbourne for The Phoenix where up to $20,000 will be on offer if the RQ slot holder is successful.

Eight community partners will also be selected with a further $20,000 on offer if Queensland’s greyhound triumphs.

Joining RQ as slot holders for The Phoenix are TAB, Sportsbet, GRNSW, The Dogs WA, Sports Entertainment Network, NSW GBOTA and breeding magnate Ray Borda.

The final field for the race will be determined on December 10 before the all important box draw is staged on December 12.

The box draw will be conducted similar to the Cox Plate where slot representatives select their box from what’s available.