Dittman rides double before sharing track concerns
LUKE Dittman rode the first two winners at Ipswich last Friday, both for female trainers.
Secret Code was the first of the double for Beaudesert trainer Darlene Durea, and Stormy Destiny followed for Gold Coast trainer Helen Page.
The double pushed Dittman into the top bracket of riders on the premiership list with 17 season wins.
Dittman is a famous riding name. Luke’s father Len “Mick” Dittman was a champion jockey across Australia in the 70s and 80s, winning three Ipswich Cups in the process.
Dittman senior is among the select band to have won the four major races in Australia – The Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, and Golden Slipper along with many other Group 1 races.
Nathan Day also rode a winning double aboard Dapper One for Les Ross and Belflyer for Neville Petersen.
Major talking point
WHILE the famous Dittman name was riding a winning double early on Friday, the big talking point of the day was the stewards’ decision to abandon the final race – an hour and a half prior to that race.
Dittman was one of the delegation of senior jockeys questioning a portion of the track after the second race.
The portion of the track, which was noticeably softer after the running of the first two races, was the 1600 to 1300 metre area.
A number of factors combined to create the situation.
The rail was out the maximum distance of up to 10 metres, the row of trees at the northern end of the course created shade over the outside 10 metres of this portion of the track, and there had been 20mm of rain earlier in the week.
Given the inherent poor drainage of the Ipswich course proper following the works of 2014 combined with heavy dews and fog last week, the shaded portion of the track was unable to dry out at the rate of the remainder.
This set of circumstances resulted in different portions of the track being rated differently, which further resulted in the stewards deeming the 1600m to 1300m portion of the track unsuitable for racing.
As the first six races were over shorter distances which did not require racing over the softer portion of the track, these proceeded.
The final race of 1710 metres was abandoned by the stewards.
As the rail is back to only one metre out this Friday, there is no threat of these circumstances repeating – at least not over the next few weeks.
FRIDAY is the last Ipswich meeting of the season and the Jockey’s Premiership will be decided on the day.
After neither Tegan Harrison nor Jim Byrne rode winners last week, we enter the final meeting with season-long leader Harrison one win ahead of multiple premiership winning jockey Byrne.
Six-time winner Byrne is looking to add to his tally while Harrison aims to claim the title of the first female to win an Ipswich Jockey’s Premiership in the 150th anniversary of the Ipswich Cup.
The Ipswich Trainer’s Premiership has long been decided as Tony Gollan holds an 11-win lead over Matt Dunn who is on 20 season wins, then Robert Heathcote on 19 wins.
The new season kicks off at Ipswich next week with Friday meetings all through August.