Queensland Trainers Express concern Over Hard Tracks

Queensland Racing cannot win for losing.

First, it was complaints, justified perhaps, from trainers complaining about the soggy turf and Eagle Farm that resulted in some major grade races being moved to Doomben.

The trainers now seek a face-to-face with the RQ officials about racecourse ratings where trainers are scratching horses from races at an alarming rate due to the firmness of those courses.

A recent meeting at Ipswich brought matters to a head.

The track was rated a Good 3, but out of 81 final acceptances, trainers scratched 16 horses.

RQ decided to waive the scratching fee at the request of the Australian Trainers’ Association and the secretary of that outfit, Cameron Partington brought up the concern that rock-hard tracks have been a concern for some time.

Partington told the AAP that 30 or more trainers had raised the firmness issue with him.

“Firstly, I want to make it clear this isn’t an attack on track managers,” Partington said.”What we are saying is they should be properly funded to be able to water tracks to a suitable level playing field.At the moment they (the tracks) are not. But it has become an even more vital question since Eagle Farm closed with the strain on staff and the tracks themselves stretched to the limit.”

This calls to mind the famous incident in 2005 when Lee Freedman threatened to hold Makybe Diva out of the 2005 Melbourne Cup. Racing Victoria, rather than risk what would become the Diva’s third consecutive Melbourne Cup, applied water to Flemington to Freedman’s and it all probability, many other trainers’ liking.

Partington was complimentary in his remarks concerning Doomben, where trainers said the surface was perfect, having been dampened to a Soft 5 in the morning in order to provide a Good 4 for the meeting.

Track managers walk a fine line. Storms in Queensland on top of a watered track could result in a downgrade. If the tracks goes un-watered when expected rain showers do not make their appearance, mass scratchings put a damper on a meeting, as trainers would rather scratch and pay than risk injury to horses.

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