The controversial Eagle Farm track remains the hottest talking point in Queensland racing so where to from here?
That’s one of the issues to be discussed at a strategic workshop on Monday hosted by Racing Queensland which has invited jockeys, trainers, owners and breeders.
There is now a prevailing view, in most sections of the industry, that the track at some point must be ripped up and rebuilt.
It’s remarkable to think we have reached that point, given Eagle Farm was first closed for renovations in 2014 yet seven years later is still deeply troubled.
You only have to look at a recent raft of stewards’ reports – with a host of horses jarring up, pulling up sore or simply not letting down – to know there is a significant problem.
David Vandyke won’t run his horses there and other trainers say there are many horses in their stables they won’t be running there.
David Vandyke has made his thoughts known on the Eagle Farm racing surface. Photo: AAP Image/Vince CaligiuriSource:AAP
RQ seems to want to manage Eagle Farm in the short-term and there is a body of trainers who don’t necessarily object as long as there is a proper long-term fix.
One trainer told us that the solution, at least in the short-term, could be buying time by taking Saturday meetings away from Eagle Farm and sending them to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast or elsewhere.
Eagle Farm could still stage midweek meetings but Saturday horses would not run there, thus giving stakeholders more breathing space to conjure a way to get the grand old lady back to her glory days.
One thing the entire industry agrees on is that they will no longer cop Band-Aid solutions.
Rob Heathcote is preparing to welcome his Group 1 star Rothfire back to Queensland after many months of rehabilitation on the NSW central coast.
And Heathcote is daring to dream the “Thriller from Chinchilla” could embark on a Sydney spring campaign targeted towards the $15 million The Everest.
Rothfire relinquished an Everest slot last year when he needed leg surgery after being injured as $1.55 favourite in the Group 1 Golden Rose.
Rothfire winning the Run To The Rose at Rosehill. Photo by Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Heathcote says the surgery was a success and Rothfire will arrive back in Brisbane later this month and spend a couple of days at the Mein Street stables where Heathcote used to reside.
“Those stables are pretty much closed these days, I only use them for horses that are convalescing,” Heathcote said.
“I want to spend some time with him and the owners are very keen to come and see him too.”
Heathcote said that as long as Rothfire continued to progress well, an early spring blueprint would be for the Queensland galloper to follow the successful spring path that Classique Legend took into last year’s Everest.
THREE TO BACK
September Run (Flemington, Race 8)
Looks to have the Newmarket Handicap at her mercy after sizzling home behind Nature Strip in the Group 1 Lightning.
Mo’unga (Flemington, Race 7)
Having first run for Annabel Neasham, was wide yet battled strongly to the line and will be a serious player in Group 1 autumn targets.
Colette (Randwick, Race 7)
It’s time we all realised the Golden Eagle winner is a serious racehorse indeed, especially on rain-affected tracks. Still too good for them despite not being fancied to win on resuming.
Colette was dynamic winning the Apollo Stakes at Randwick. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Brando (Flemington, Race 7)
Was wide the trip but beaten out of sight and those who dived into the highly-touted Kiwi as the $4.40 favourite were left with a hole in their pocket and are unlikely to be buttering up again anytime soon.
Coolth (Flemington, Race 4)
Is likely to be suited over more distance but that didn’t help punters who backed him at $2.10 only to watch as he hit a flat spot when trying to build momentum.
Jamie Kah. Anything she touches turns to gold, even getting Nature Strip to settle in one of this outstanding jockey’s Flemington wins. One wag joked that stewards should broaden the definition when they list gear changes to include “Kah on” when she gets her first ride on a horse.
Nature Strip wins the Black Caviar Lightning from the fast-closing September Run. Photo: Brett Holburt/Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Best Result: I’m Telling Ya, Flemington Race 9.
Doesn’t win out of turn and there weren’t many Ladbrokes punters that found I’m Telling Ya in the final race of the day at Flemington.
Best Backed: – Tailleur, Randwick Race 4.
Tailleur was backed as if unbeatable throughout the week and a brilliant frontrunning ride from Kerrin McEvoy helped her claim a maiden win at Group level.
Worst Result: Regardsmaree, Flemington Race 3.
Just keeps on winning and he is quickly becoming a favourite for plenty of punters. The Ingratiating into Regardsmaree race-to-race double was very popular.
Markets – Ladbrokes
Blue Diamond Stakes, Saturday
$12 General Beau
Tomorrow: Warwick, Scone, Swan Hill.
Wednesday: Ipswich, Sandown, Kensington, Strathalbyn, Bunbury.
Thursday: Doomben, Warrnambool, Pakenham (night), Grafton, Newcastle, Geraldton, Kingscote.
Friday: Townsville, Benalla, Quirindi, Canberra, Darwin, Sunshine Coast (night), Canterbury (night), Moonee Valley (night).
Saturday: Eagle Farm, Caulfield, Rosehill, Morphettville, Newcastle, Orange, Wagga, Yarra Valley, Gold Coast, Gladstone, Goondiwindi, Mackay, Roma, Toowoomba (night), Ascot, Alice Springs.
Sunday: Gatton, Goulburn, Taree, Werribee, Ballarat, Pinjarra, Port Lincoln, Launceston.
“Boys, we’ve got a horse.”
Black Soil Bloodstock guru Brian Siemsen as he turned to a large band of owners at Doomben in the seconds after Miami Fleiss scored her second brilliant win, this time winning by 3.5 lengths.
The Talking Point
Fast Kah. Let’s stop the talk about “female” jockeys and just say she is one of the best riding talents we have seen in decades – male or female. She is in such sublime form she could get the clerk of the course pony to win.
As much as $3.50 was available about Doomben first race winner Leadership Spill when markets first opened. The resuming galloper was smashed in betting, officially $2.50 into $1.90, and was never in doubt especially when Tony Gollan stablemate Chico Milagro was out the back early.
Originally published asMonday workshop to discuss controversial Eagle Farm
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