Turf Chat: Winning Bell rings loudly in huge week of racing
With 20 races contested at Ipswich last week, one did not have to look far for a highlight or two.
On Wednesday for an eleven race card, there were many highlights, including three winning jockey doubles.
Amongst these doubles was the senior rider Tim Bell, along with apprentices Luke Dittman and Luke Tarrant.
Last year’s Metropolitan Premiership winner Bell won aboard Party Till Dawn for the Gold Coast based Gillian Heinrich and Athena Fire for Murwillumbah’s Matt Dunn.
Dittman’s double was aboard two Ben Currie trained gallopers – Sigmund and Great Game.
Tarrant was riding at Ipswich a few days after his greatest success when riding Rudy to win the Villiers Handicap in Sydney.
His winners were for Toowoomba trainers Tony Sears, who won with Storm Crazy, and Michael Nolan who won with Night Rituals.
A training double of wins was also recorded as Robert Heathcote collected wins with Angel Alley and Oceantes, ridden by Jim Byrne and Dan Griffin respectively.
Two other trainers went close to capturing doubles as Gillian Heinrich won with Party Till Dawn and placed second with Comic Story.
Dunn also won with Athena Fire and placed second with The White Hope.
The Friday meeting was just as enthralling as Dunn claimed a training double to move to the top of the current Trainer’s Premiership ladder.
Dunn’s wins were with Bergdorf which was ridden by Bell and Royal Occasion with Jim Byrne aboard.
Bell made it a second winning double in three days when he won later in the day aboard Touch of Bella for Toowoomba trainer Tony Sears.
Four wins for the week propelled Bell into a tight three way tussle with Jim Byrne and Chris Munce to see who will lead the Ipswich Jockey’s Premiership as we enter 2015.
Tough week for some
THE hectic schedule for the ITC in the week prior to Christmas continues tomorrow with the final meeting for the year.
Two meetings last week and one on Christmas Eve have kept the ITC grounds staff on their toes in the lead up to the festive season.
The meetings last week were no ordinary meetings.
Long-term patrons were left scratching their heads trying to remember the last time, if ever, there was an Ipswich thoroughbred race day of eleven races.
It was a much longer day than normal in sweltering conditions.
However, there was little respite for the club as it was back to racing on Friday with another big day of nine races and a large crowd of revellers.
In between these two meetings last week, the track staff had one day to patch the track and move the entire rail out further.
This was done in 35C, completing a task which would normally take a couple of days to get through.
It is not just another meeting tomorrow for the grounds staff as once the races are done it is not the time for festivities but rather rolling, patching and mowing of the track before the club shuts down until the New Year.
The willing band of groundsmen have put in a big combined effort to ensure quality racing surfaces for the past couple of weeks, though their Christmas Eve celebrations will need to wait until around 8pm, when a long week for track maintenance staff will be complete.
The track maintenance team is led by Grant Greasley and includes Chris Wallace, Sean Tou, Darrel Bell, Peter Hughes, Jamie Moore, Gary Ash, David Rodger and Sam Litzow.
There is a break from racing for the ITC until Saturday, January 10, when Rugby League Ipswich hosts a day at the races as that organisation warms up for season 2015.
January 10 is Magic Millions Race Day at the Gold Coast as Ipswich fills the slot of the secondary Queensland meeting.
As we near the end of 2014, management and staff at the ITC wish members, patrons, licensees and the entire Ipswich Community a happy and peaceful festive season and a prosperous and enjoyable new year.