Story and Photos courtesy of Graham Potter and www.horseracingonly.com.au
By Robert Heathcote | Thursday, March 8, 2012
Robert Heathcote is the leading racehorse trainer in Brisbane. 'Rob's Shout' - the personal blog of the multi-premiership and Group 1 winning trainer will appear every Thursday on HRO.
Hello again folks.
It's been another busy week which looks like culminating with an amazing race, the Newmarket Handicap sprint up the famous straight 6 at Flemington
How cool is that to see five, yes five local South East Queensland horses in the race. Two of mine, two from Jason McLachlan's yard and the big fella from T Bar, Tony Gollan being well represented with Temple Of Boom.
It's exciting and I hope our horses will fly the flag well as our states racing representatives on the National Stage!
It looks like being quite a race with arguably as strong and competitive a Newmarket field seen for some time. Sure, the great mare is not there this year and, I have to be honest, I say that with relief as she would still have won with 60+ kilos on her back … so dominant is she!
I still think the nation’s second best sprinter is Hay List and he is going to be very hard to beat. However, he has to give away some weight this time and maybe there will be a chink in his armour. He will still run a mighty race though!
I have been delighted how well Buffering and Woorim have done leading into the big race. I watched their work at Flemington last Saturday and Michael Rodd on Buff and Melissa on Woorim both gave me glowing reports on how well they feel.
I opted out of giving them a jump out up the straight on Tuesday morning electing to gallop them together down the straight 1000. They ran the last 600 in 34 and change and the official clocker, Warren Huntley, reported it was excellent work and they were both still on the bit … so that's good enough to give me confidence that they will both race well on Saturday!
Buffering coming out of 8 is ideal as he will come out looking to either lead or sit upside Rain Affair. The 2 gate for Woorim isn't so good, so Brownie will have to look to have him tacked onto the back of the field and swing him around them coming to the 300 as we know he can sure let down and hit the line hard.
The form suggests there are a host of winning chances and this is also reflected in the great value you will get if you do in fact manage to back the winner. I am confident my two boys will race well.
Last Saturday was a bit controversial with the condition of the race track at Eagle Farm after it received rain mid-meeting which caused a serious deterioration in the racing surface.
There is no doubt that there is a problem with the track when it rains during a meeting and the water sits in the hoof marks from the previous race. This then creates plenty of throw-back and makes visibility very tough for the jockey's.
I was there on the day and it was interesting to hear many of the comments attributing blame and all having differing opinions on the situation.
The first and most serious consideration must be for the safety and welfare of the riders and the horses. The problem appeared to be primarily visibility and this seems to be at its worst when rain falls on the track once it has been raced on.
I have been a stern critic of the track for a few years now but, personally, I think it has held up remarkably well with the deluge of rain we have had this past few months.
Just yesterday the track was raced on as a Heavy 10 rating and it raced fair and well and just as importantly, safe.
This morning there were even some Saturday runners who used the course proper and it held up great. A real credit to the boys for getting to the condition it
raced in yesterday!
The major concern I have for the track is for inclement weather to hit us just prior to or during the upcoming Winter Carnival. This could then cause serious disruptions and even major embarrassment to our major carnival on a national scale.
It's been no secret that the track at Eagle Farm is old and tired and in need of a total reconstruction. not just a 'refurbishment'!
We got lucky the last few years but our luck may be running out with the so-called global warming?
Why a portion of the $110 million dollar government package recently given to Racing Queensland was not used to rectify one of the major problems in this state's racing is beyond me.
I have no doubt that once gain this situation has been influenced by politics which really is a crying shame. If it's not a crying shame now, it will be if we get 2 inches of rain on the Thursday prior to the Stradbroke and 10mls after race 2 on the Saturday June the 9th!
Irrespective of who is in charge of the state’s racing, and Eagle Farm for that matter, the simple fact is that the track at the Farm has been a wonderful servant for over a 100 years but it’s old and tired and it needs a rebuild.
This should have been the number one priority for any new infrastructure builds and, yes, I accept the argument that there are also many other 'urgent' priorities to spend the funds on. I am just not happy that the decision may well have been politically motivated!
Those throwing criticisms to the track curators after the smashing they have taken with the endless rains this past few months should consider the extreme difficulties they are faced with.
That's not denying a problem exists, it's just how we all go about fixing it!
Anyway, I have a Group 1 to win this weekend so I am busy enough!
Ha … forever the optimist!
Cheers for now.