One of the world’s most popular sporting megastars will be the racing ambassador for the world’s richest harness race.
Former UFC champion Charles Oliveira, who boasts over six million Instagram followers and a serious love for harness racing, has accepted the ambassadorial role for the inaugural $2.1 million (AUD) TAB Eureka at Club Menangle on Sept. 2.
The deal was inspired and made by Aaron Bain Racing and Summit Bloodstock, who will combine to bring Oliveira to Sydney for the week of the TAB Eureka. They also have a slot in the race.
Oliveira, who boasts 33 wins from his 43 fights and still competes in the UFC, sent social media into a frenzy on July 13, 2021 when he upstaged U.S. Hall of Fame driver Tim Tetrick to win an exhibition harness race at Yonkers Raceway in New York.
“Harness racing is a real passion of mine. I’m crazy about it,” said Oliveira.
In an exciting twist and as part of Oliveira’s deal, he will return to the sulky for another exhibition race, this time against superstar Australian driver Luke McCarthy at Menangle on the night of the TAB Eureka.
“I’m trying to protect my unbeaten record,” said Oliveira. “It’ll be great to get back in the bike.
“That’s just part of the reason I jumped at this opportunity. I love harness racing and this new race sounds like a great chance to promote the sport to a much bigger audience.”
Oliveira will also work closely with Aaron Bain Racing and Summit Bloodstock around the announcement of which pacer will race in their slot.
“When we bid for a slot in the TAB Eureka, we promised to use it as a chance to take the sport outside of its bubble,” said Bain. “That’s the very reason we approached Charles. He’s not just a sporting superstar and celebrity, he’s one with a genuine love of harness racing and he’s the perfect fit.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing him out here for the whole week leading up to the TAB Eureka and will have a series of events and appearances while he’s here to help promote the race and our industry.”
Harness Racing Australia CEO Andrew Kelly added: “We love this. Huge credit to Aaron Bain Racing and Summit Bloodstock for doing exactly what we hoped this race would inspire … thinking outside the square to promote our great industry.
“To have someone with Charles’ success, appeal and cut-through as the ambassador for the first running of the TAB Eureka is a real coup.”
About The TAB Eureka
Where: Club Menangle (Sydney)
When: Saturday, Sept. 2
Purse: $2.1 million AUD (richest pacing race in the world)
Distance: 2,400 metres
Eligibility: For Australian-bred and born pacers aged three and four
Slot Race: 10 slots have been sold to make-up the 10-horse field. Four slots have already been filled. They are: Catch A Wave (Cordina Racing), Captain Ravishing (Team Zav), Leap To Fame (Kevin and Kay Seymour) and My Ultimate Ronnie (Soho Standardbreds).
For updates, visit theeureka.com.au. For tickets and hospitality packages, visit clubmenangle.com.au.
(With files from Harness Racing Victoria)