Eagle Farm Returns To Racing

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

It’s with much excitement that we can announce that Eagle Farm will return to racing on Saturday, December 22.

Racing Queensland made the decision this afternoon after barrier trials and jumpouts were conducted at Eagle Farm earlier today. Two barrier trials were held from the 1000m chute to the winning post before two jumpouts of 800m, beginning at the mile start.

Today’s schedule was designed as a final test before a decision was made on a return to racing.

We took the opportunity to test the likes of the on-course audio, television systems, jockeys room, stewards room and towers and media room.

The results were very positive. After the jumpouts, stewards met with the Maintenance Control Group, which includes our BRC track managers, GM Racing Matt Rudolph and Racing Queensland representatives, to discuss a return to racing. They were happy to return on December 22 with a second meeting likely to be held on Saturday, January 19.

Racing Queensland has just confirmed the formal transfer of meeting from Doomben to Eagle Farm on December 22, enabling us to prepare for the return to Queensland’s home of racing.

Here is a summary on the performance of the track today from some of the jockeys and trainers involved:

Jim Byrne: “With the tests that have been done, it’s passed with flying colours. They can win from forward on this track, they can win from back. They can run time. And you can’t hear the horses. The track has been perfect in that regard. I stayed on the fence in one of the trials because I wanted to feel what that section of the track was like and it was fine. The next step now is to see how it recovers from today and then to see how it copes with racing over time. But, as far as December 22 goes, the track looks ready to me.”

Dale Smith: “We had a lot more traffic today than during the gallops last week but this track is brilliant. I’ve ridden on a lot of tracks and this track is second-to-none. I really don’t know what to compare it to. The spring in this track is unbelievable. There’s no concussion going through (the horses’) shoulders and they’re running great times. It’s got the tick of approval from me.”

Matt McGillivray: “The first trial I was second last, in amongst them, and there was no kickback at all. It was perfect. Ten out of ten for the track.”

Luke Currie (did not ride in the trials but rode in the jumpouts down the back straight): “It was lovely. It reminded me a lot of our track Pakenham and I reckon that’s one of the best surfaces I’ve ridden on. The test now is how it holds up to regular racing but it doesn’t cut out and it’s not too firm so the signs are positive.”

Trainer Chris Munce (rode in the second jumpout): “It’s a very good galloping surface. I’d go so far as to say that horses that may have some leg issues will have no problem with this track. You would describe it as a forgiving track. I don’t think it will ever become a hard, jarry track. Unless it was raining on the day, I don’t think it would be a soft track either."

Trainer Tony Gollan: “This track is really good. They are running good time. There is no kickback. There are horses coming from the back and horses from the front as well. And it looks to be uniform inside and out. It’s just fantastic to have this track back."

My thanks to all involved in getting Eagle Farm ready to race again. The work on the track, overseen by Racing Queensland in collaboration with the BRC, is being complemented by significant works off the track. We are working through more than 40 projects in anticipation of Eagle Farm’s return. The main project, which was completed last week, was our new $1.3m energy upgrade.

The BRC team is also giving Eagle Farm a top and tail spring clean to ensure it is ready for December 22. There are more than 150 additional contractors and workers on site preparing for the return to racing.

Separate to this, refurbishments of bars and outlets will commence in January as part of our upgrade program. This will include a new look Champagne Bar (Members’ Reserve) and reticulation system, new look Connections House (formerly the Gallery Bar) and a new-look Group 1 lounge. These projects will deliver more than $4 million in improvements to Eagle Farm, complementing the promising track renovation.

This has been happening while Doomben continues its remarkable performance. We’re in the midst of an exciting summer with very strong attendances at our meetings in December, on a Doomben track that continues to deliver for the industry. I thank the BRC team for their work and look forward to the return to Eagle Farm in 11 days.

CELEBRATE the return to racing at Eagle Farm by purchasing your tickets here.

Dale Smith on Eagle Farm

Robert Heathcote on Eagle Farm