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By David Fowler | Tuesday, October 2, 2018

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

I'm convinced south-east Queensland TAB clubs need a uniform approach to the rating of their track surfaces.

And this suggestion isn't prompted by last week's Ipswich cancellation. That was enacted by a mechanical mishap and subsequent clumsy handling by stewards.

And nor is this the first time I've offered this advice.

In other words, it's an issue that has lingered for some time and left unaddressed.

To put it bluntly, punters and stakeholders in general are sick and tired of misleading track ratings being offered up.

The Beaudesert Monday meeting was the most recent case in point.

A heavy 8 rating was announced at scratching time but, to be fair, a potential upgrade was indicated.

Understandably, punters and stakeholders in general can only work off the rating presented to them.

The first red flashing light became apparent when there was a reassessment to a soft 7 before the meeting began.

The first race was run over 1100 metres and run in 1:03.85. The track record is 1:03.08!

The second race, a Maiden, was run over 1200 metres and run in 1:10.47. The track record is 1:08.92!

The track was basically a soft 5 or even closer to a good 4.

And this is where it's all upside down. Rather than us praising the Beaudesert track and its staff for its excellent recuperative powers and their management, we are cranky, yet again, because of a misleading track rating.

That collective group, "punters and stakeholders in general", make decisions before meetings begin.

It's not a case of "working on the run" although punters are in the position to readjust their strategies as a meeting proceeds,

And there's an annoying spin off to this recurring problem.

Why are the raceday stewards reluctant to adjust the rating to its proper level once the evidence is on the table?

Their knuckle dragging approach by only reassessing by one unit (e.g. Soft 6 to a Soft 5 ) is tiresome and predictable.

Sometimes such a strategy is correct when a track gradually improves.

But, on other occasions, when a rating is clearly wrong, you never see a heavy 8 to a good 4 announcement, for example.

Why is this? Why is the punter deprived of the correct information?

It's all very well for those at the track who can judge for themselves by having the visual evidence at hand. They are a mere speck in the punting ocean these days.

So what's the solution?

Someone with an intelligence of tracks and how to rate them with a full-time brief to cover the south-east Queensland corner is the answer.

Racing Queensland seems to have a cosy association with Sam Hyland who was a professional track walker in Victoria in times gone by.

He might be the man.

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