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By Graham Potter | Friday, March 8, 2019

Another abandonment of an Ipswich race-club meeting … another day of racing in Queensland.

And, no, the aim of this article is not to put the boot in when someone is down, but rather it is to highlight the need to address an issue which has clearly not received its due attention, which has got out of hand and is one which now needs to be rectified … whatever that takes … as a matter of priority.

In the last six months the Ipswich track has become a serial offender with regard to scheduled meetings not being able to go ahead for reasons not associated with extremes of weather.

It would seem to have been a pointless exercise for Racing Queensland to hold an investigation into why an Ipswich meeting could not go ahead … as it did last time when the meeting got stuck in the starting stalls … if we are only going to arrive at the date of the next scheduled Ipswich meeting and have the same result … as happened today.

It has to be remembered that trainers and owners spend time working out where to place their horses to their best advantage and the horses training programmes are worked out accordingly, so, by offering a race programme and then taking it away at short notice all of that that time planning is compromised.

As one person wrote on social media, “I do feel we can’t really risk missing runs with our horses anymore by going to Ipswich in the future. We could have raced at the Sunshine Coast today or Gold Coast tomorrow but unfortunately chose Ipswich. Twice burnt now.”

There is a clear warning in there for authorities as that is likely to be a popular opinion and line of action by trainers given the latest turn of events.

Today forty-nine horses from forty-one stables were ready to run at Ipswich today. Some of the jockeys who accepted to ride at Ipswich might have turned down rides at the Sunshine Coast night meeting.

Sure, that was their mistake but it remains an all-around unsatisfactory set of circumstances for all participants … and authorities now have to step in and get some solid order back into play.

And then again there is the no small matter of lost income from betting turnover which has its own substantial negative impact of the well-being of the industry at large.

Of course, safety of horse and rider is paramount and a meeting has to be called off if that safety is in question. There can be no argument against that, but the core issue of why racing is repeatedly finding itself in this position at Ipswich is one that needs to be argued, debated and resolved.

With the extensive building works still very much on the go at the Ipswich track it is not a particularly user-friendly venue at this time so if a tough call has to be made to take traffic off the track for any period of time to get the racing surface right … now would appear to be as good a time as any.

There is always the less radical band aid option but that is more likely to only bring temporary relief before racing finds itself backed into the same corner.

Remember, the Ipswich Cup … the pride and joy of the race-club … is only three months away.

And, no, it would not be a good idea to just try and scramble a way through that.

It really is a no-brainer. Those who can make a difference need to roll up their sleeves and immediately implement a plan that will get the Ipswich Club back on track in the best possible way.

Anything less, just won’t do.


*Cameron Partington, Queensland's representative of the Australian Trainers' Association has called for action on the Ipswich track racing surface issue. He was speaking to racing.com.

"I sent a message to the CEO this morning saying enough is enough," said Partington. "Ipswich has had the same problems since September last year. If they stop racing there it at least gives them a chance to fix the problems. Bite the bullet now, move the next months’ worth of meetings and fix it properly. Toowoomba would be the first option, it's not an overly-used tack.”

“The track (Ipswich) is 50/50 all the time. The track's not the same consistency all around the circuit. The track isn't even, so as soon as any water goes on the track it becomes uneven."

More articles

The concern for the Ipswich racing surface has been an on-going problem for months. These pictures show jockeys out on a notorious section of the track just past the winning post back at a meeting on February 6. A month later Ipswich has had to abandon its latest meeting. Action is now being called for in a situation which requires strong leadership
Just look at the body language!

Photos: Graham Potter
Just look at the body language!

Photos: Graham Potter
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