Darling Downs trainer Michael Nolan is on the Gold Coast this week looking to buy his next crop of yearlings to race for the attractive QTIS bonuses that are on offer across the Sunshine State every week.
Just a few hundred metres away in a different section of the Magic Millions complex, Michael's uncle - Basil Nolan Senior – the principal of Raheen Stud – is aiming to sell the next QTIS star to the countless trainers and sets of connections floating around.
Widely regarded as the best in the nation, QTIS provides bonuses for Queensland-bred horses who can prevail in the Sunshine State.
Dozens of trainers from across Queensland will descend on the Glitter Strip this week with the aim of buying their next QTIS star, with many QTIS-eligible yearlings set to go under the hammer.
"QTIS is everything to us; you can win at Toowoomba with a filly and get $30,000, you can win in town with a two-year-old and get $80,000," Michael said.
"QTIS has kept us guys up at Toowoomba going, even if you are racing at Warwick, you always aim for a QTIS race.
"It has been very good to us, Hinged who we raced earlier this year won a number of QTIS races in town and won $80,000.
"When we are shopping at these sales, there might be a really nice horse but we are always aiming to get them QTIS."
Basil Sr wears two hats in the breeding game, principal of Raheen Stud as well as being Thoroughbred Breeders Australia's President.
He points to QTIS Jewel Day on the Gold Coast every year – where 2YO and 3YO QTIS gallopers have a chance to race in $500,000 events – as an example of a key reason to buy a QTIS eligible galloper at the sales.
Michael's Kisukano is a previous 2YO Jewel champion, winning the race two years ago, and has gone onto a competitive racing career at black-type level.
"The better QTIS horses go Magic Millions in January and I think that is important for people, seeing what a great scheme it is," Nolan Sr said.
"My wife thinks QTIS is the best kept secret in racing up here, she thinks we do not not advocate it half enough.
"When you can race in the metro area every Saturday and a filly nearly gets $80,000, it is a great scheme.
"If you go to a higher level and win a stakes race, you get the QTISx bonus and a bonus for the breeder, I think it is marvellous.
"QTIS has gone to another level."
Michael recalls in past years when it was much easier to win a Saturday metropolitan race in Brisbane and now believes through the strength of QTIS, it is as difficult as it has ever been.
"Queensland racing in general has gone up a level and I think QTIS has a lot to do with that," Michael said.
"It has got a lot stronger on Saturday in town.
"When we are attracting owners to syndicates, QTIS has certainly helped me sell horses recently."
On Raheen Stud's draft, Basil senior says they have a team "very nice horses" with 18 to sell over the 2022 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, the biggest number the Stud has come to the sale with in recent years.
Raheen Stud's new stallion, Heroic Valour, who will be represented in the 2YO Classic on Saturday afternoon through Heroic Son and Mishani Persuasion, will play in a big part in the Stud's fortunes this week and into the future.
Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch is proud of the contingent of yearlings on offer on the Gold Coast this week.
"The graduate success out of our sales is something quite phenomenal," Bowditch said.
"When you are the only catalogue to sell a Golden Slipper-winning male this millennium and you are producing the likes of Winx and Golden Sixty, among others, it gives the market a lot of confidence.
"This year's catalogue is a strong edition and we are really excited by the depth and quality to it.
"There are plenty of buyers out there that just want to buy that next champion graduate, the sale is tried and true at producing."
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell believes the annual January Magic Millions sale is a key component of the industry in the Sunshine State.
"Book one has got over 900 yearlings up for sale and there are buyers here from all around the world," Parnell said.
"There seems to be a good degree of confidence in the record prize money on offer in Australia and at this carnival.
"We are hoping the sale lives up to expectations."
Leading Victorian trainer Ciaron Maher has already been busy in the early stages of the sales, including buying a $1.7 million colt from the final crop of recently retired champion sire Not a Single Doubt.
Maher thinks the Magic Millions sales gets stronger every year.
"It is about showing the owners around and matching them with the sort of horse they are after and having a good time really," Maher said.
"There is a number of nice horses there, it is the same every year.
"The sale seems to get a bit stronger each year, just the size and the way they market it, it is going from strength to strength."