Jockeys and stewards agree that more trials are needed before the green light is given for racing to commence on the new Caulfield Heath inner track.
Six official trials were held for the first time on Monday and while the feedback was positive, Victorian Jockeys Association CEO Matt Hyland said the jockeys who rode in the them – Craig Williams, Damian Lane, John Allen and Jamie Mott among them – felt that more opportunities to test the tight turn out of the home straight was key before a race day launch.
“In general, we are really comfortable with the surface,” Hyland said.
“The only contentious issue was that turn out of the straight where the horses are pulling up.
“There were some mixed opinions about that, but we are definitely impressed with the surface.”
Five of the trials began from the 1000-metres and 1200-metres chute which mimics the same starts on the original course while the final heat was run over 1500-metres.
Events over 2000-metres will start at the top of the home straight which is where the turn past the winning post will come into play.
“How that (turn) will go under race pressure, bearing in mind that the club aren’t intending on running races over those distance for the first few meetings, is something we need to get more comfortable with.”
The largest field of the heats run saw eight horses line up and Hyland added that running trials over the longer distances with bigger fields outside of race day pressure would be beneficial as well as more runners over the shorter trips to gauge the pulling up situation after the race is run.
“Some consistent pressure when they go past the winning post and negotiating that corner out of the straight is tricky,” he said.
“Another set of trials will be really productive to help become accustomed to it.”