The horror story that is the Eagle Farm track has once again reared its ugly head and has yet again put a big question mark against racing’s immediate future at the metropolitan venue.
It hasn’t taken long for the latest round of agitation from trainers to reach an official point of protest … in fact it is only three weeks since racing returned to Eagle Farm on December 12 after having ceased there on October 3 for another planned renovation … with an email being sent by the Australian Trainers’ Association (Queensland Division) to Racing Queensland outlining the trainers’ serious concerns at the present state of the Eagle Farm track.
The concerns reportedly relate to two of the most important aspects of racing.
Firstly, there is the animal welfare consideration. Here the track presents a two-fold problem. The level of kickback that comes from the softer, shifty top surface of the track is reportedly considered to be a genuine concern, as is the hardness of the track below that top layer which also can cause injury. It is, quite simply, a bad mix.
Secondly, there is the integrity of racing consideration. Wagering turnover is the lifeblood of the industry and to maximise that income stream punters have to be able to bet with at least a reasonable degree of confidence. Eagle Farm arguably does not provide that as some horses simply do not perform on the current surface and just where the going will be best on any given day is seldom revealed until a couple of races into the race-day itself.
The worse case scenario in this regard is that punters will either be reluctant to bet on Eagle Farm racing or will stop betting on it all together. They are certainly not short of other race meeting betting options.
The catalogue of errors that have seemingly been made with the track in the very unhappy six years since the idea of a new track was first mooted, as well as the ever-rising costs of the repeated steps of a project which has seemingly gone nowhere, is really a continuing embarrassment to all directly concerned in the matter and, by default, to all of those stakeholders in the Queensland racing industry.
The buck has to stop somewhere!
On the back of that email sent to them, Racing Queensland has agreed to a crisis meeting where the Brisbane Racing Club, trainers and jockeys will be represented but, astoundingly, that will only take place after the Magic Millions race-day on January 16.
Not today. Not tomorrow … but after Magic Millions Day!!
Shouldn’t it be taking place right now?
Whatever the logistics of putting a crisis meeting together entails … surely the word ‘crisis,’ in itself, calls for a need for speed but, instead, that post-Magic Millions scheduling for that crisis meeting suggests that there are those who think they can afford to waste another two weeks before moving this matter forward.