Chairman Neville Bell Awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia
Tuesday, 28 January 2020
The Brisbane Racing Club was delighted over the long weekend when Chairman Neville Bell was named in the Australia Day honours list.
Neville received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to horse racing and to the Caboolture community over recent decades.
Some Members have known Neville for many years but were unaware of his voluntary activities in the Caboolture region which preceded his duties as a Director of the Queensland Turf Club and later with the Brisbane Racing Club.
We congratulate Neville on his OAM, which follows the same honour for our Racing Manager Bart Sinclair in 2018.
We are grateful for the contributions of many to the success of the Brisbane Racing Club and to the racing industry in Queensland. Over more than 150 years of racing, we have been fortunate for the generous input of so many people to the running of our Club.
The long weekend also brought good news for the TAB Doomben 10,000, which was again listed in the world’s top 100-rated races in 2019.
The 10,000 has now been listed on multiple occasions in the rankings, issued by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. The Federation bases the rankings on the ratings of the first four horses in each event.
The 10,000 will be boosted to $1 million prizemoney this year, continuing to grow a time-honoured race that has improved its profile since reverting to its traditional 1200m distance.
In 2019, the 10,000 was tied for 72nd on the list, which included 20 Australian races.
Sydney’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes was Australia’s top-rated race while the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe topped the list.
We are looking forward to four consecutive Saturdays of racing at Eagle Farm in February on a track that continues to meet the benchmarks of the Monteith Report.
The report was released ahead of the Eagle Farm renovation in 2018. The Report was written by former Victoria Racing Club chief executive Dale Monteith, who outlined recommendations for the maintenance of the track across several years.
Eagle Farm’s performance on Saturday 18 January underlined the progress of the track. Eagle Farm withstood 65mm of rain overnight on Friday – bringing the weekly total to 140mm – to race with a Good 4 rating.
The Monteith Report recommended no more than 25 meetings be held at Eagle Farm in its first year, increasing for the next two years. The report also recommended annual renovation time and avoiding instances of three meetings in fewer than two weeks. Eagle Farm hosted 25 meetings in the first year.
“Based on what we’re seeing at Eagle Farm and, speaking with the experts who are working with the track, Eagle Farm is performing to the expectations that we set before the track was rebuilt,” Dale Monteith said.
“I’m happy with how the track has performed. Not many tracks in Australia would have reached a Good 4 rating after the rainfall in the days prior to the (January 18) meeting. The track doesn’t divot which is a sign of a well-constructed and a well-maintained track.”
The Brisbane Racing Club has applied to Racing Queensland for 80 race meetings – including 45 Saturday meetings – in the 2020-21 schedule, which is yet to be finalised. The application includes 35 meetings at Eagle Farm, including 30 Saturdays, and 45 meetings at Doomben including 15 Saturdays. The application for 80 meetings includes the Tattersall’s Club schedule.
The BRC’s application includes time for spring renovations for both tracks and a rest of three weeks for each track prior to its Brisbane Racing Carnival dates. If these dates are confirmed, racing in Brisbane would return to its highest level since the original Eagle Farm renovation was announced in 2013-14.
The club’s monthly water bills for November and December totalled $109,000 after a dry period meant that Doomben had to be irrigated with town water. Racing Queensland met half of the cost of the watering of the Doomben tracks.
We’re grateful for Racing Queensland agreeing to assist with the costs over that period. Fortunately, rainfall in late December ensured that the Doomben dams have filled and that Eagle Farm did not have to be irrigated with town water.
One of the many pleasing statistics since the return to racing at Eagle Farm in December 2018 has been the tally of winning barriers from various starting points. In the 55 races held over 1400m in that time, 50.3 per cent of the winners have come from the outside half of the barrier draw. This underlines the fairness of the Eagle Farm track for all competitors.
Doomben continues to race well and it was pleasing that the track would have been able to race on January 18 if the meeting was allocated there. The BRC staff inspected Doomben that morning to determine how the track handled the rainfall.