Queensland’s main racetrack Eagle Farm will not be ready for the Brisbane winter carnival and will be closed until at least next spring.
Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club on Thursday confirmed the troubled track needed more time to be able to race at a high standard.
Eagle Farm has been closed since May 27 when it was ruled to be unfit for major racing.
The decision for the track to remain closed for an extra period means there will be a re-jigged winter carnival next year.
The track was scheduled to be open for the winter carnival but there have been delays in the remedial work.
The decision to miss the winter carnival was made several weeks ago but could not be ratified by the state government because it was in caretaker mode.
RQ Chief Executive Elliott Forbes said in order to provide sufficient time for thorough testing before racing and to provide certainty to all stakeholders, Eagle Farm had been removed from the winter carnival.
“We are on schedule to begin laying turf in December despite delays associated with adverse weather, challenges sourcing the necessary high-quality materials and securing the availability of contractors to undertake the remediation process,” Forbes said..
“All those involved in the project have taken a ‘best practice’ approach to every step of this project in relation to materials and methodology, including extensive testing and quality assurance of materials.”
BRC Chairman Neville Bell said the announcement would assist all stakeholders to plan their campaigns.
“The decision to call it now provides certainty for all participants planning carnival campaigns in the first half of next year and to ensure we give the Eagle Farm track every opportunity to perform to the highest of standards which our stakeholders, members, patrons and punters deserve,” Bell said.
The author of a report on the Eagle Farm surface, Dale Monteith, said he was responsible for recommending the best solution for the track and he took that responsibility seriously.
“I know that the steps undertaken will see Eagle Farm again become one of the best racing surfaces in Australia,” he said.
The new-look winter carnival will feature four Group One race days at Doomben, culminating in the UBET Stradbroke Handicap.
The proposed schedule, to be finalised by RQ, has three consecutive weekends of racing at Doomben before a two-week break before Stradbroke Day in June.
Under the proposed schedule, the Queensland Oaks will be brought forward one week and held alongside the Kingsford Smith Cup at Doomben.
The Sunshine Coast Turf Club will then host a card, the majority of which will be black-type races, one week before the Stradbroke.