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By David Fowler | Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Toowoomba revealed on the weekend it is yet another south-east Queensland club ready to embrace the realities of conducting horse racing in the modern era.

The Toowoomba Turf Club is embarking on a master planning process to ensure Clifford Park remains relevant and viable in the years ahead.

Sadly, but beyond argument, clubs who rely on racing as their sole activity and, as such, sole revenue base will slowly but surely go broke.

I have always been a fierce supporter of the club model operating under a higher authority umbrella.

It has to be said the days of a control body simply being a "rules and regulations" outlet and clubs being totally self-sufficient are but a distant memory.

There can be no denying that clubs now increasingly rely on the government authority for financial assistance so it can be fairly argued that it is entitled to more involvement in the club's affairs.

Yet this has often led to messy situations with lines blurred on who is responsible for what.

As a club chairman, trust me, I know.


Toowoomba's weekend announcement sends a clear signal on two fronts.

Within the present framework, they are keen to secure racing at Clifford Park for a long time into the future but realise for that to happen outside revenue sources are essential.

This approach has already been well demonstrated by the Brisbane Racing Club with their precinct development and the Gold Turf Club forming a powerful alliance with Aquis.

The Ipswich Turf Club has also explored alternative revenue opportunites but has been stymied by the snail pace approach to the redevelopment of their complex.

I was at the Toowoomba races on Sunday and am impressed by their committee and senior management.

It's a bonus to have ex BRC and RQ chair Kevin Dixon as part of that committee and Allan Gee strikes me as a no nonsense go getter who calls a spade a spade.

With lights already established and an outstanding racing surface, this club will play a significant role in any racing template that Racing Queensland decides upon over the next five years.

Now that they have fired their sensible weekend salvo, they should be allowed to proceed without interference.


Ubet is currently trialling two initiatives which are certain to be welcomed by punters.

Fixed odds betting on Saturday's four principal meetings will see an immediate payout rather than waiting for correct weight unless there is an obvious incident that could cause a protest.

And "enhanced" prices on these same fixtures will be available from noon to eight on Friday.


The trialling of payout prior to correct weight was prompted by an analysis of how long it takes for some tracks to declare correct weight.

To be honest, I can't fathom why it takes so long to declare weight at some of the meetings I broadcast at in south-East Queensland.

Take Doomben for example. The scales are located alongside the return to enclosure.

Surely after placings are confirmed, the first four jockeys have weighed out, and there is no objection correct weight should be declared then and there.

Yet, too often in my book, we often wait for another two or three minutes before the correct weight signal is posted.

Am I missing something?

Punters and betting companies alike are frustrated by this sometimes tortoise-like pace to enacting the correct weight signal.

A club's punctuality on starting their races has often been strongly scrutinized by higher powers. Their punctuality, or lack of, in declaring correct weight should be added to that list.

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best