A smorgasbord of events has been unveiled for the upcoming The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions carnival on the Gold Coast – and rugby league legend Billy Slater is in on the feast.
Turf tragics Slater and wife Nicole have been appointed ambassadors for next month’s carnival, alongside the likes of Elsa Pataky, British royal Zara Tindall and husband Mike.
Slater, the former Maroons and Melbourne Storm superstar who has coached Queensland to back-to-back State of Origin titles, is a racehorse breeder who is selling two yearlings at the Magic Millions sales being held as part of the Glitter Strip’s annual racing and social spectacular.
The former trackwork rider will also take to the field in the Magic Millions polo and show jumping tournament on the carnival’s opening weekend on January 7.
Not to be outdone, his wife – a talented equestrian artist – will unveil a large-scale equine-themed installation as part of the event.
Slater whet his Magic Millions appetite when he joined The Star’s culinary chief Daniel Fox to whip up some carnival fare, including coral trout sliders, in The Darling hotel’s penthouse this week.
He said the 36-year-old event, co-owned by Gerry Harvey and wife Katie Page, had become Queensland’s answer to the Melbourne Cup and The Everest.
“It’s an exciting time of the year and one that my family and I look forward to coming up each year for,” he said.
“I think the Gold Coast brings a great atmosphere anyway but at that time of the year, it’s just glowing. The weather’s fantastic, everyone’s in a good mood and you add the racing industry … it has pretty much everything.”
Slater said horses had been part of his and Nicole’s life since they met as teenagers at a North Queensland pony club.
“I think we’ve shifted from being a family where horses have been a casual part of our life, to them being a more significant part of our world,” he said.
“To be around like-minded people for the Magic Millions Carnival, it’s just the biggest buzz for us.”
The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions, which runs from January 6 to 13, features a $14.5m race day and is tipped to pump about $35m into the economy.
Originally published as Magic Millions 2024: Billy and Nicole Slater return for Gold Coast spectacular