‘Pyramids built faster than turf club’s upgrade’: Chair
RACING Queensland’s inability to make a decision about a vital infrastructure upgrade at Ipswich Turf Club has contributed to another embarrassing meeting cancellation, the club’s chair has declared.
Hours before Friday’s racing was scheduled to start jockeys determined parts of the track were too dangerous for racing and asked for it to be cancelled.
Despite track managers ticking-off on the surface on the morning inspection, jockeys’ concerns were taken onboard and the meeting was called off.
“The safety of the riders and animals is paramount,” Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch said.
The last-minute decision to cancel the meeting annoyed riders, officials and spectators.
There are two particular problem sections on the track.
A hard clay surface at the 400m-mark and past the winning post was created in 2014 when Racing Queensland attempted to remove severe bumps.
A cushion of grass was scraped off, creating drainage problems.
“We’ve suffered with that ever since,” Mr Patch said.
He said Racing Queensland had not responded to the club’s request to close and permanently fix the problem.
Turf club officials want to “bite the bullet”, close the track and build an access tunnel to the centre; when they will also resurface the track to permanently fix the problem.
“There’s been no decision made by Racing Queensland,” Mr Patch said.
“Their inaction, their inability to make decisions on infrastructure has contributed heavily to the position we’re in with this drip-fed remediation work.”
“They built the pyramids quicker.”
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said Mr Patch indicated the club would be pursuing the tunnel project independently.
“At this point, Racing Queensland has not been advised that this position has changed,” Mr Parnell said.
“It is worth noting, however, that more than $300,000 has been spent on track remediation work at the Ipswich Turf Club over the past two years with more allocated, and the current commercial development, is the single biggest investment allocated under the Racing Infrastructure Fund.”
Mr Patch said this September was an ideal time to rip up the track, resurface it and build a tunnel.
A high amount of racing on few tracks across southeast Queensland means it is not possible to close more than one track at a time.
A four-year debacle at resurfacing Eagle Farm prevented Ipswich from closing to permanently fix the two soggy sections.
Mr Patch said officials would again discuss the way forward this week.
“Whether a greyhound facility is inside or a more general sporting field, we do intend to put a tunnel,” he said.