Fossil Equine Skeletons Begin to Emerge from Eagle Farm Bog
As we began to suspect when one of the Queensland summer carnival races was move to Doomben, Eagle Farm has yet to be brought up to an acceptable standard, despite a major overhaul followed by attempts to make the track worthy.
Racing Queensland has announced that Eagle Farm will not be used until, at best, spring of next year. There had been hopes that Eagle Farm would be back in action by April of 2018, but that time frame was apparently overly optimistic.
The premier racecourse in the state needs major resuscitation. Experts were brought in for consultation and the result of that examination is that the kikuyu turf is removed and the base layer of sand down to a depth of as much as 100 mm be replaced with a different type to enhance drainage.
Ten million dollars was spent on the course in 2014, during which time it was closed and all the major racing switched to Doomben. It reopened in 2016 and was immediately sledged for being a veritable quagmire.
Leading jockey Kerrin McEvoy described the course as, “Worse than a heavy 20.”
According to Racing Queensland Chief Executive Dr. Elliot Forbes, “We are on schedule to begin laying turf in December despite delays associated with adverse weather, challenges sourcing the necessary high-quality materials and securing the availability of contractors to undertake the remediation process.”
Horses should be on the track in the middle of 2018 for testing and gallops.
The silver lining came from Brisbane Racing Club Chairman Neville Bell, who reckoned that the latest pronouncement at the least gave trainers some direction for their efforts during the next winter carnival.
“The decision to call it now provides certainty for all participants planning carnival campaigns in the first half of next year and to ensure we give the Eagle Farm track every opportunity to perform to the highest of standards which our stakeholders, members, patrons and punters deserve,” Bell said.
The major races will now be held at Doomben and the Sunshine Coast Turf Club will be used for black type racing in the lead-up to the Stradbroke Handicap.