Eagle Farm Track Trials
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
The Eagle Farm track underwent its first test this morning when 13 horses worked over the course proper.
The feedback from all participants, including many of Brisbane’s best jockeys, was very promising. The horses worked off from the 1800m point, finishing their fast work at the winning post. They were in the middle section of the track.
Since last Saturday, a total of 55mm of irrigation had been placed on the course including 10mm last night. This morning, jockeys who rode on the track rated it as a Good 4. That rating was backed up by the times that were run by horses. Here is a selection of comments from the jockeys who rode on the track today:
Jim Byrne: “I was ecstatic about it. There’s no kickback. They’re bouncing off the grass roots here. They don’t appear to be getting into it at all. If you were going to get kickback you would be expecting some (given the 10mm of irrigation last night) and we’ve got a heavy dew here this morning. The way the track has galloped this morning there is nothing but positivity. There is no cutting into the grass, there is no lifting of the grass. It’s nice and clean under foot. Lani Fancourt worked out in front of me in the last gallop and she said she couldn’t hear my horse in behind her which tells you how good the track is.”
Matt McGillivray: “That track was nice and spongey. The horses were floating across it. You could definitely accelerate on it. It was very even throughout. It’s in great condition. The second horse I was on was under pressure from the top of the straight and I was pushing it out. But there was no dipping and diving. It was very smooth.”
Lani Fancourt: “It was lovely to ride on. Jimmy Byrne said to me after it that they could really accelerate off it and I felt that. It was nice and smooth and felt really good under foot.”
Mark Du Plessis: “It rode as it looks. It was really good. That’s how it felt. I couldn’t fault it. It is a very quiet track. The horses really enjoy it.”
Dale Smith: "They have done a fantastic job. The track rides really well. I expected a little bit of kickback but the grass has knitted that strongly that it was minimal. This is the first time I’ve ever ridden at Eagle Farm. What an amazing racetrack. It’s got a great camber. I can’t wait to ride in races on it.”
We’ll learn more about the track next Tuesday when we host barrier trials. That’s the next step for this track in its full return to racing, which Racing Queensland has earmarked for Saturday December 22. Racing Queensland and the BRC will continue to be cautious because we have learned that these tracks take time and that we need to be patient with them.
The project control group, which includes representatives from the BRC and Racing Queensland, will meet after next week’s trials to assess the track and its recovery. Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell spoke with journalists earlier today about the chances of Eagle Farm returning to racing on December 22.
“It would be a great Christmas present to have Eagle Farm back,” Mr Parnell said. “We want to test the whole track. Today’s trackwork was in the middle of the track. We will go further in for barrier trials. And then we’ll be closer to the rail true for racing’s return. Let’s see how the trials go. If it all performs well, then (we will race on) the 22nd of December."
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe also attended Eagle Farm this morning. “Let’s be cautious, let’s be careful but I’m really excited about the prospects of the return to the home of racing,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
The BRC will continue to advise the public of updates regarding the track and the location of the race meeting on 22 December.