Work is scheduled to begin on the Eagle Farm racetrack redevelopment soon but the odds of next year’s Stradbroke Handicap being run at Doomben have shortened markedly.
Eagle Farm was closed for a $22 million makeover on August 20 but no work has been carried out in the two months since.
Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon said the start of work was “imminent”.
“I can’t say much as it is a government matter but I would be surprised if an announcement wasn’t made very soon,” Condon said.
“You can say the start of work is imminent.”
It is understood Queensland treasurer Tim Nicholls signed off on the grant for the redevelopment last week but the announcement was deferred following the death of Rockhampton jockey Carly-Mae Pye from injuries she suffered in a fall.
BRC chairman Neville Bell confirmed Doomben was likely to host the 2015 winter’s Group One races the Stradbroke Handicap, Queensland Derby and Queensland Oaks.
If the races are at Doomben, the distances will change with the Stradbroke 1350 metres instead of 1400 and the two Classics shortened to 2200 metres from 2400.
“Plan A is we are hopeful we can run them at Eagle Farm. If we get the lucky breaks with the weather the track could be ready,” Bell said.
“But being realistic, Doomben is looming large as the venue. If we run the Stradbroke at Doomben the world won’t stop.”
“It is always remembered as a great race and it will be remembered as a great race if run at Doomben.”
There has been a push for the Group One races to be run at the Sunshine Coast but the BRC is unlikely to agree to that proposal.