Sporting great lends his name to newest harness race

Queensland sports star Matthew Hayden will lend his name to Queensland’s newest slot race.

The Hayden – named after Kingaroy’s own Matthew Hayden – will act as Racing Queensland’s qualifying race to determine its placeholder for the inaugural $2.1 million The TAB Eureka at Club Menangle on September 2, 2023.

The race will be held on Saturday, July 15th at Albion Park exclusively for three and four year old QBRED horses.

Widely regarded as Australian cricket’s all-time greatest opener, Mathew Hayden was one of the game’s most electrifying batsmen, representing his country more than 270 times in the three international formats.

Hayden was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 and inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2017.

The Hayden will take his place at the 2023 Queensland Constellations Carnival, which is part of RQ’s NAIDOC celebrations and plays a small but crucial role in the Queensland racing industry’s journey to reconciliation.

RQ will work with The Hayden Way to raise funds for Shoreline, which has provided education and employment opportunities for Indigenous students since 2009.

Race Minister Grace Grace said it was fantastic to have the cricket legend on board to work alongside Queensland’s newest harness racing.

“It just makes sense that a Queensland legend like Matthew would lend his name to a shameless all-Queensland affair at The Hayden,” Ms Grace said.

“This race is restricted to pure QBRED horses trained and driven by local participants.

“Equally important, The Hayden will truly transform the lives of Indigenous students through its important partnership with Shoreline.”

Founded on the Tiwi Islands, more than 300 students have participated in Shoreline programs over the past decade, sparking and inspiring positive change and empowerment for young Indigenous Australians.

With the advancement of the winner from The Hayden to The Eureka, RQ has pledged 10% of all prize money from The Eureka to Shoreline to help fund its educational programs.

Matthew Hayden said his lifelong passion for racing played a key role in getting involved with the innovative concept.

“I am extremely proud and honored to be associated with racing in Queensland and honored that The Hayden will be paying tribute to our family,” he said.

“The Hayden offers a Queenslander a unique launchpad to shine on the world stage as part of the $2.1 million The Eureka, and it’s a fitting tribute for me as a proud Queenslander.

“Importantly, it offers Shoreline a brilliant concept to partner with Racing Queensland, with proceeds funding education and employment opportunities for Indigenous students.”

Additionally, Shoreline Managing Director Jason Ryan said he is proud to see the racing industry partner with the award-winning initiative.

“Shoreline is excited to have the opportunity to partner with Queensland Racing on the inaugural Hayden and Eureka events,” said Ryan.

“Funds raised go directly back into local communities to continue the development of long-term career paths for young First Nations students.”

As part of the inaugural event, an innovative slot auction will be held on March 12th, with each of 10 barriers up for grabs, which in turn will form part of the race’s funding.

The auction will be held as part of the annual Sunshine Stars Yearling Sale at the Magic Millions complex on the Gold Coast, giving aspiring slot holders the opportunity to secure their favorite barrier before moving on to selecting a horse.

The Hayden will be run with stakes of $100,000, with proceeds from the slot auction continuing to contribute to the prize pool.

RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said partnering with the cricket icon and Shoreline was an easy decision for everyone involved.

“Named after one of Australia’s greatest Test batsmen of all time, The Hayden honors a much-loved and well-respected Queenslander known for his bravery, determination and strength,” said Mr Parnell.

“Embodying Matthew’s unwavering chestnut pride, The Hayden will be a QBRED pacer-only race, staged during the highly successful Queensland Constellations to ensure strategic alignment with the fundamental racing conditions of The Eureka.

“A strong supporter of trotting, the use of Matthew Hayden as the hero of Queensland’s proposal will resonate with those outside of the sport and generate widespread interest in The Hayden and The TAB Eureka.”

In October, Racing Queensland was announced as one of 10 first place finishers in the world’s richest trotting race, ensuring a Sunshine State star will represent Queensland in the new $2.1 million feature for the next three years.

The 2400m race, which will be held for the first time at Club Menangle later this year, is restricted to Australian-born three- and four-year-old pacers.

Click here for more information on The Hayden.

Out of Queensland races

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