As is the case elsewhere in the country, Racing Queensland pays out prize-money down to tenth place at metropolitan and provincial meetings.
That spread provides an incentive for owners and trainers to race their horses, which in turn helps to boost race sizes, which in turn makes those bigger field races more attractive as a betting proposition, which in turn leads to greater turnover, which in turn directly benefits the racing industry’s financial bottom line.
But there will be occasions where the action does not follow the script … in fact that preferred trend can sometimes work in reverse.
Take the case of the second race at the Sunshine Coast today. Eight nominations became six acceptances. Six acceptances were reduced to two runners when there four early scratchings leaving just two runners to go to the post … meaning that eight scheduled prize-money payouts will go unclaimed.
The shrinking of the field to such a low number has the counter roll-on effect to the positive trend mentioned above.
You have to bear in mind that this Sunday meeting is the third meeting at the track in the last seven days … so, to some degree, the pool of horses racing there had been depleted by those two meetings earlier in the week … and, to an even greater degree, by a host of meetings that have taken place all over Queensland in a very busy Melbourne Cup week
Cabochon Lil is one of the runners that has stood her ground. The Stuart Kendrick trained filly is a four-time winner and has finished first, third and fifth in her last three starts since resuming from a spell … never finishing more than three lengths behind the winner.
Fast ‘N’ Forward has only had two runs for trainer Alan Jones since transferring from the Team Hawkes yard in Sydney. Not much to write home about here as she finished unplaced in both of those starts when coming home eight lengths and six-and-three-quarter lengths behind the winner.
So, not only does the field size here discourage betting, the relative form lines of the two runners suggest Cabochon Lil will be all the rage and, if she wins, the punters return on their bets will probably only be the same as their investment.
Even the old cliché that ‘the smaller the field, the bigger the upset’ might not attract any offers.
In the broader description, it could be called a match-race, although that term is usually used when a two-horse race has been especially arranged to find out who is the better of two well-performed horses. It falls more into the ‘challenge’ category rather than just having two horses left to face up because a race field size has been decimated by scratchings.
What will happen if another horse has to come out … for whatever reason … before race-time?
Will we see a ‘walkover’ with the last horse standing having to go out and complete the course?
If so, you can imagine that the spectators might give it the biggest cheer of the day!