A growing number of trainers believe the troubled Eagle Farm track must be ripped up again, as it emerged the Brisbane Racing Club will refuse to take back the management of the track from Racing Queensland next month.
The flint-hard Eagle Farm surface has again flared into a major drama and it was an embarrassment to the Queensland racing industry when horse numbers were so limited at Wednesday’s meeting that there were only 47 starters in total across six races.
By contrast, the bush meeting on the sand track at Gympie last Saturday attracted 56 starters across its six-race card.
Late in the day on Wednesday, a posse of trainers met behind closed doors at Eagle Farm and there was almost unanimous agreement that the track must be ripped up for the third time.
Racenet has spoken to several of these trainers.
The trainers are also armed with support from several big-name Sydney trainers who privately say the Queensland winter carnival was a success only because of the reputable Doomben track.
While Eagle Farm managed to get through the winter carnival despite its issues, increasing amounts of trainers are now limiting the horses they race at Eagle Farm and some are contemplating whether to race horses there at all.
There will be a crisis meeting between trainers and other industry participants, potentially as soon as next week, which will involve both Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club and possible solutions will be thrashed out.
It is understood participants have been told, that if the track is to be ripped up, it cannot happen until after next year’s winter carnival as the huge expanse of kikuyu grass needed for the project would need significant time to grow.
The management of the controversial track was due to be handed back from RQ to the BRC next month but BRC chairman Neville Bell says the BRC will refuse to take it back.
“We can’t consider taking the management of the track back as it currently is,” Bell told Racenet.
“It is not up to standard, so we won’t take it back.
“The BRC has been working with RQ on the management of this track for two years now.
“There is a meeting next week with stakeholders and RQ to assess where the track is now and the next steps.”
Brisbane Racing Club chairman Neville Bell. Picture: Jared VethaakSource:Supplied
The Australian Trainers’ Association’s Queensland representative, Cameron Partington, said: “We are having ongoing discussions with our members about the recent and current performance of the Eagle Farm track.
“At this stage we are not in a position to comment, as we don’t wish to unduly influence the further discussions and negotiations over the coming weeks with RQ and the BRC regarding the future plans for Eagle Farm.”
Vega One wins the Kingsford-Smith Cup for trainer Tony Gollan and jockey Jamie Kah at Eagle Farm. Picture: Grant Peters – Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied
The latest drama comes only seven months after a crisis meeting was called over the Eagle Farm track in January, prompted by what trainers said was a series of botched renovations and refurbishments dating back to 2014.
In that time there have been a series of complaints about various incarnations of the Eagle Farm track, but the latest issue is it is just so hard that many horses simply don’t let down there while others pull up with issues.
There are other issues to consider in how to handle Eagle Farm going forward.
Gold Coast Turf Club chairman Brett Cook said his Turf Club had been accommodating in the past with track projects at other clubs which had priority over the Gold Coast’s own infrastructure projects.
Cook was supportive of the most recent revamp of the Eagle Farm surface, but says the Gold Coast has now waited long enough and its project is fully funded and approved by the State Government and Racing Queensland.
“As a matter of priority, the Gold Coast project should be fast-tracked which would provide a world-standard racetrack while Eagle Farm is getting renovated,” Cook said.
Originally published asCrisis strikes troubled Eagle Farm track – yet again
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