ERIC CONNOLLY AND CLIF CARY’S BACKING MORE THAN ONE HORSE IN A RACE PAYS BIG DIVIDENDS – AND BRISBANE SECTIONAL TIMES RECOMMENDED LAYS SPOT ON

28/11/14

There is no shadow of doubt that the thoroughbred racing industry around Australia is so incestuous that it defies belief. Many of the main characters are all mates and they all delight in covering each other’s arse – come hell or high water.

It’s no secret those in the corridors of power absolutely detest me. They really shouldn’t. They should in fact bless the ground I walk on, as Justracing is about the only place in the Australian racing industry where you get the facts, but it’s these “facts” that really piss “those in the corridors of power” off.

Earlier this year, Racing Queensland Chairman, Kevin Dixon, advised that Ipswich thoroughbred track was to get $300,000 for renovations to their tracks as there were safety concerns about one area down the back straight. No problem there – we don’t want our horses and jockeys racing on dangerous tracks and in any event Ipswich racetrack sits on land that was gifted to them for $1 by the State government and it’s pretty crappy land, as it floods whenever Bundamba Creek comes up and it’s situated right next to that creek – and the track is located above an underground mine and so on and so forth. In fact in my 2006 published 606-page racing book Justracing.com.au Volume 1 when writing the biography of miner Lance Waldon, whose mural is on Ipswich Road near Redblank Plaza, he told me part of Ipswich racetrack fell into the Aberdare No. 8 mine in the late 1960’s which closed racing down for a while.

So anyway Racing Queensland spend $300,000 of industry money to renovate the Ipswich thoroughbred track and it resumed racing in April this year. After the first meeting back the local fish and chip wrapper The Queensland Times wrote an article and quoted the Chairman Wayne Patch as saying the now renovated track was “now arguably the best racing surface in the country”. The Queensland Times and the Ipswich Turf Club are joined at the hip. For all their wonderful what I’d call “passive and patronizing help” The Queensland Times gives them each year, the Ipswich Turf Club name a race after them annually on Ipswich Cup day. It’s that awful 2150-metre “Provincial Cup” race, which is full of cats and donkeys each year and takes about half an hour to run. Come to think of it, it’s no wonder people get on the soup – as races as boring as that one would drive people to drink.

Anyway so Wayne Patch told everyone the track was “arguably the best racing surface in Australia” and everyone including me believed him. That was until jockeys started telling me the track was in fact “crap”. I had to go into damage control immediately and apologize to my readers, as I had written how good the track was – just by looking at it in the home straight, etcetera, but I had to admit that I hadn’t walked its entire circumference. The last time I tried to walk Ipswich track a couple of years ago on the afternoon before Ipswich Cup, after getting the express permission from Chairman Wayne Patch on his mobile phone to do so, I was asked to leave – what I deemed to be prematurely – by Ipswich Turf Club CEO Brett Kitching who had then (since gone) Track Manager, Graham Schultz, as his minder with him, in case I got a bit angry over that request, but I don’t ever get angry really – well sometimes I do – but I’d much rather get even.

So my public apology over my automatically believing what Wayne Patch had written – and from my observations of the home straight – took place in an article on Justracing on 19 May 2014 and that can be read here on this thread:

https://www.justracing.com.au/index.php?news_page=4&artid=4573&catid=52 

 

 

Then the phone calls and emails kept coming in about how bad the Ipswich track was, so much so that on 6 June 2014, I penned this story entitled “Horses blundering in three of eight races for no apparent reason is worrying if it happens to be a slow or heavy track for Ipswich Cup day”. In that article Ipswich Turf Club CEO failed to walk 20 metres from his office, probably so he didn’t over-exert himself and by not taking that walk he didn’t bother asking senior jockeys what they thought of the crappy track he oversees. That story can be read in full on this thread:

https://www.justracing.com.au/index.php?news_page=9&artid=4587&catid=52

Let me say I’m a very private person and anyone who speaks to me knows that they can trust me implicitly, which is why the information I get is often in great detail and from what I would call “highly reputable sources”. So at a function for the Brisbane Winter Carnival launch at City Hall in Brisbane, which I was invited to by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (I just can’t get an invite to any Racing Queensland functions), I spoke face-to-face to Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon and told him that he needed to be on top of the problems at the Ipswich racetrack. He asked me “what problems” and I advised him “if you talk to him (pointing at jockey Chris Munce who was standing two metres away) or senior jockeys like him, they’ll be able to tell you all about it”. Nothing more was heard from Darren Condon on the point until well over five months later when the proverbial hit the fan and he was forced to issue a Media Release yesterday afternoon to the tune that next Wednesday’s Ipswich meeting has been transferred to Caloundra due to “drought-like conditions” in Ipswich. That’s all rubbish – as at 6am this morning I was on course at the Ipswich Turf Club and took a stack of exclusive photos and they are all up live now on this thread:

http://www.brisbaneracing.com.au/article.php?current_article=6692

and you have a look at them for yourself and see if you think that the Ipswich course proper has been hit with “drought-like conditions”.

Several times since I wrote my first story of the Ipswich track back in May this year, jockeys have threatened to not ride at the Ipswich track that Wayne Patch called “arguably the best racing surface in the country” way back then – that’s over six months ago – due to safety issues. I’ll go so far as to say had the track been rated as either “slow” or “heavy” on 2014 Ipswich Cup day, instead of being a good 3 on a fine day – that the meeting would not have gone ahead as the jockeys would not have ridden at the Ipswich track. Even as recently as twice in the last seven days, as per below, stewards and/or jockeys have found problems with the Ipswich track before the first race at Ipswich. Here are the official steward’s reports notations from just the last two meetings that were held at Ipswich track:

Last Friday (21/11/14) the stewards report stated:

Upon arrival at the course, stewards had some concerns with sections of the track near the 400m and the 500m. As a result of this, it was decided that the rail be moved an additional 4m out from the 550m to the 300m to avoid the affected sections.

At last Wednesday’s (26/11/14) meeting stewards noted in their report:

Race 1: The Mack Metroliner QTIS 3yo Maiden H’cap – 800m

The start of this race was delayed when upon arrival at the barriers some riders expressed concern with a bare patch on the track near the 550m, which necessitated some grass clippings being placed.

Although I have been and still am accredited media with Racing Queensland for the last 10 or 15 years, Justracing was asked to leave the Ipswich Turf Club enclosure today after photographing the club being at fault again by having no gate attendant on one of two enclosure gates. That full story is on the www.brisbaneracing.com.au website now also.

Racing Queensland Cadet Handicapper Sam Watson has advised the website that the scaled weights for Doomben tomorrow are: Race 2 + 6kgs, Race 3 + 2.5kgs, Race 4 + 3.5kgs, Race 7 – 2kgs. So the Cadet Handicapper is telling us, in my words not his, that if you stand down near the fence when all the cats in Race 2 are coming very slowly up the home straight, you should be able to hear the “e-orr, e-orr” sound resonating all around Doomben, as the weights on that particular race have been scaled up a massive 6kgs. But don’t get too stressed out or suicidal about it, as on the plus side, he’s telling us that the Recognition Stakes field (Race 7) is a good quality field for that particular Listed race, so much so that the weights have been scaled down two kilos.

Brisbane Racing Club Track Manager Sean Bridges has advised the website late today that the Doomben track is currently a “slow 6.” Sean said, “Doomben received 28mm of rain last night and another 3.5mm today”. He added, “If we get no more rain and wake up to clear skies in the morning, I’m prepared to say the track will be back to a dead 5 for the first race”.

The apprentice jockey weights for Doomben tomorrow should be:

JOCKEY

WEIGHT

Sairyn Fawke

50 claims 3kgs

Luke Tarrant

50 claims 1.5kgs

Rikki Jamieson

50 claims 3kgs

Travis Wolfgram

54 claims 2kgs

Matthew McGuren

55 claims 2kgs

James Orman

52 claims 3kgs

Bridget Grylls

49 claims 2kgs

Sam Payne

53.5 claims 3kgs

 

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au I have photographic proof that talk of “drought-like conditions” affecting the Ipswich thoroughbred track course proper is absolute and utter garbage plus photos of no security on an enclosure gate three minutes before they jumped in the first race. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there’s a couple of harness stories, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Matt Nicholls looks Moonee Valley.

The Postman has kindly sent in his thoughts for tomorrow and they read:

It’s well & truly off season across the eastern seaboard tomorrow, but I think we can still back a winner in the shape of Sir Moments in the Festival Stakes over 1500m @ Rosehill. The QLD Guineas winner from the winter has come back in fine fettle with two very good runs back from a spell. First up @ Doomben, Sir Moments settled back last & ran on very well to be beaten less then a length behind Hopfgarten over 1350m. Last start Sir Moments settled midfield on the fence with 59kg, tracked into the race approaching the turn and gunned down the leader Gundy Son late for a solid win over 1400m.

Tomorrow Sir Moments steps up to 1500m @ Rosehill, which I think is the perfect stepping stone for the Villiers over the mile in a fortnight. He’s drawn out, but I don’t see this as an issue as there looks to be fairly good speed in the race and he will settle back in the field. I think he’s very well placed with 56kg against these horses and jockey Tim Bell knows him & rides him very well, which is a major plus for mine. If Sir Moments can race with cover & get a clear crack at them in the straight, I believe his finishing burst will prove too strong for these & he will put them away.

Of the others, I concede Mouro a chance, but he’s a little one paced for mine. Generalife will find 1500m in this grade beyond him I fear, ditto for Heart Testa. Estonian Princess will improve going back racing the clockwise way and Scream Machine can place if he’s in the mood. I do think they’re all racing for the minor prize however, as I think Sir Moments has their measure.

Luxbet opened around the $5.50 mark which is clearly overs for mine. I have him priced @ 11/4 or $3.75.

Rosehill 6-8 Sir Moments.

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