Turf Chat: Ipswich foot racing back at fun Saturday meeting
THE Weetwood Handicap Day at Toowoomba is the highlight of racing this weekend in Queensland.
However, at home in Ipswich there is a decent card for the provincial meeting featuring the Ipswich Festival Cup, the annual St Edmund’s Foundation fundraising function, and the running of the human footrace, the Ipswich Mile Gift.
This footrace is the only one run in Queensland with betting allowed on it and this year marks a decade of this event being held in Ipswich.
A number of functions are booked this week at Ipswich as well helping to ensure that the day will attract a good attendance to watch the live racing.
One eye will be kept on the skies as the forecast is for a midweek trough bringing possible heavy rain and clearing by Friday.
The forecast is for fine weather on Saturday after the trough passes through, indicating a wet track for the gruelling foot race on the sand, and a wet track for the equine runners – something that officials will keep a close eye on.
Cup interest grows
THE Ipswich Turf Club continues to receive enormous interest from the Ipswich community in Ipswich Cup Day.
The 2015 edition has a number of additional attractions including from a racing point of view the elevation of the QT Provincial Cup to a $100,000 Winter Stayer’s Series Final.
From a non-racing point of view, the booking of international act DJ Havana Brown to play on the infield during the afternoon has sparked great interest from the younger set with a rush to secure tickets to that point.
On the grandstand side, marquees have been sold out.
A larger take up of general entry is expected to take advantage of the great viewing terrace location for the races, capitalise on halved entry prices including a beer or wine beverage, experience the arctic kiss ice bar installed by Sirromet, win a trip to XXXX Island at the XXXX Retreat, and take part in a sunglasses wearing world record attempt at the after party.
However for now, the focus of the ITC is the Legs/Eddies/Festival Cup meeting this weekend on one of the few Saturdays that the club has across the year.
In excess of 150 nominations have been received for the eight race card.
Winter carnival away
THE Queensland Winter Carnival kicked off on Saturday with a large day of racing including $1.68 million prizemoney on offer across nine races.
This featured six group races and three listed races.
Most of the big money went to southern state invaders including the Hawkes trained Leebaz in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes and Srikandi for Victorian trainer Ciaron Maher in the Group 2 Victory Stakes – a race previously run in Brisbane.
Nostradamus, who is also trained by the Hawkes team in Sydney, took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas.
Michael Kent’s Epingle, from Victoria, won the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap.
I’ve Got the Looks, from the Snowdon stable at Randwick, took out the listed Silk Stocking.
Queensland trained gallopers also had some success on Saturday including Sunshine Coast’s John Zielke with Worthy Cause in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic and hometown trainer Peter Balzen’s win with Big Tree in the Ken Russell Memorial Classic.
The quality of entrant on Saturday including so many southern gallopers supported the approach of Racing Queensland to start the Winter Carnival at an earlier date immediately following the close of the Sydney Autumn carnival.
Additionally, programming of various Group races at Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba next week with these meetings early in the carnival gives added motivation for southern gallopers to race in Queensland.