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Track troubles: Why Ipswich meeting called off

Pretty Ricky wins the Real Property Legal Maiden at Ipswich Racetrack on Friday.
Pretty Ricky wins the Real Property Legal Maiden at Ipswich Racetrack on Friday. Rob Williams

TURF CHAT

THE latest Ipswich racing meeting scheduled last Friday was abandoned after rain on race morning.

Many interested parties were asking how this could be the case given the record dry spell of the long hot summer, and how 12mm of rain could result in the abandonment of a race day.

The simple reason for this is the nature of the Ipswich race track and the poor drainage rate through the profile.

This poor drainage rate is a result of the subsurface, which is a heavy clay-based material. This gives a naturally poor flow of moisture through the surface.

The drainage rate of the Ipswich racetrack is in places less than 5mm per hour which compares to other free draining tracks such as Toowoomba and the new Eagle Farm surface where the rates of drainage are around 150mm per hour.

Further, sports stadiums such as the new facility in Perth have drainage rates of up to 400mm per hour.

Hence the only ways for water to quickly escape the surface at Bundamba are runoff and/or evaporation.

It follows then that if there is rainfall of 12mm over the 15 hours leading up to the steward's track inspection at 6am, with most of that in the preceeding few hours and still raining at that time, then there will be surface water evident on the track.

This was exactly the situation last Friday and as there was surface water on the track at the time of inspection, and rain still falling, there was no option for stewards other than to abandon the meeting.

The rain ceased at 6.30am after the inspection, and there was no surface water evident by mid morning in warm and sunny conditions. However the call had to be made at inspection time. This was especially so given the loss of two meetings close to race time over the previous six months which caused industry uproar.

This decision was widely questioned throughout racing circles. However the situation was no different to that which has long been the case over the 130 years of racing at Bundamba.

The poor drainage was exacerbated five years ago when track undulations were removed, along with the artificially built up top layer of softer draining material.

New star on horizon

THE great galloping mare Winx is nearing the end of her incredible career, which has provided untold good for the thoroughbred racing sport.

Winx began the four-year love affair with the racing public soon after the retirement of another darling of the turf in the Peter Moody trained Black Caviar.

These two mares have shown how important it is for Australian racing to have a galloper in action capturing the imagination of the Australian public.

It appears that there is another shining star about to take over the mantle of Australia's best.

That follows the Chris Waller trained The Autumn Sun's outstanding win in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas on Saturday.

This three-year-old colt has won seven of his eight career starts including a dominant and ridiculously easy five length win in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes back in the Spring.

The win on Saturday after giving runaway leader Fundamentalist around 20 lengths, including 10 at the 200 metre mark, was stunning.

However sectional form students are quick to point out that Winx performances have regularly rated four lengths better than The Autumn Sun's best to date, although there is further scope for improvement from the younger galloper.

Next meeting

Ipswich racing is back on Wednesday (weather permitting). There is then a break of 16 days before the final meeting this month on Friday, March 29.

Topics:  ipswich races ipswich track issues ipswich turf club queensland racing news turf chat