Ipswich loses all its April race meetings
AN incident packed week in relation to the Ipswich race track has resulted in transferring of all meetings until Saturday, May 2.
This means that there will be no racing at Ipswich in April.
Along with the good Easter rains, this will help to ensure the racing surface is suitable for racing through the winter, including the all-important Ipswich Cup meeting on June 13.
The problem with the Ipswich track is that the newly planted turf of 12 months ago has not matured where it is as strongly rooted and acclimatised as previously existing matured turf, which is in the chutes and the straight.
This mature turf has been used to replace patches on five occasions over the past 12 months after heavy workloads combined with racing on a wet track.
The most heavily affected area is on the home turn as has been clearly shown in the past month.
Racing in February resulted in an area at the 400 metre mark being badly worn between two and nine metres off the true rail position.
This area was over approximately 20 metres in length and the crunch came on March 13.
During that meeting there was heavy rain at the mid-point of the card.
After inspection, stewards requested that the rail be moved out 12 metres as the inside area was unfit for racing with water pooling at the damaged track bare areas.
Five days later on March 18, there was 12mm rain on the morning of the meeting and the stewards requested that the rail stay out at 12 metres. This resulted in the area out 12 metres on the home turn being badly worn as well as much of the still immature turf was simply scraped off the surface in the wet conditions.
The next Ipswich meeting was on a good track on March 25 and the rail was again out 12 metres on the home turn due to the badly worn inside patch showing little sign of recovery and having still not been re-turfed. However this meeting being on a good track was able to proceed without issues as there was no rain on the day.
To allow the re-turfing to take place, there was a transfer of the April 1 meeting to Doomben – a meeting that however was abandoned due to heavy rain.
The re-turfing of the inside damaged patch took place finally after delays on April 1.
The 120mm of rain between April 1 and 4 drenched the course.
While helping the newly laid turf and the bulk of the course proper, water pooled at the affected area out 12 metres rendering the outside area of the home turn unsafe for racing for the April 8 meeting.
Additionally, the inside could not be raced on as it was only seven days since new turf had been re-laid. Hence the April 8 meeting was abandoned.
Due to the threat of losing a third consecutive Wednesday meeting tomorrow, the decision was taken on Thursday by Racing Queensland to transfer tomorrow’s meeting to the Sunshine Coast – albeit with the rail out very wide on the larger more spacious Caloundra track.
While the Ipswich track would probably have been good to go next week on the scheduled April 22 date, Doomben had offered to take up that meeting on Wednesday last week which was accepted by Racing Queensland, again with the rail out very wide.
The scheduled April 29 meeting had already been sensibly transferred to the Gold Coast early last week as the Gold Coast was programmed to have two weeks off after their big carnival day on April 25. That meeting on April 29 would have been the first of an unrealistic five meetings in 14 days at Ipswich, just one month prior to the Ipswich Cup in the middle of winter.
Additionally Racing Queensland is working to transfer the May 8 meeting from Ipswich.
The result of this hectic week of events is that Ipswich will not race in April and the next meeting here is Saturday, May 2.
Cup excitement builds
THE Ipswich Cup is within two months and many patrons are already clamouring to book their spot. This can be a marquee, the Hometurn Experience, the new Arctic Kiss Ice Bar, one of the corporate lounges, or one of the best views of the racing at the viewing terrace, which includes access to the XXXX Retreat, Sirromet Ice Bar, and After Party.
Judging by early interest, there will be a large attendance again with the booking of DJ Havana Brown on the infield creating enormous interest.
The southern states Autumn carnivals are now winding down as eyes turn to the Queensland Winter Carnival.
This carnival commences on April 25 for the Prime Minister’s Cup at the Gold Coast and runs through the Ipswich Cup on June 13.