Bentley stands by decision not to split
A DEFENSIVE Queensland Racing (QR) chairman Bob Bentley yesterday was unrepentant about his organisation's refusal to divide a 16 horse Maiden Handicap at Rockhampton last Saturday which resulted in three horses being scratched due to a jockey shortage.
Not surprisingly, in a drafted response, Bentley made no mention of the fact that funding of $5000 was available for the "race split'' through the loss of the Class 6 set for the same Rockhampton program. While sidestepping that issue, Bentley instead has relied on QR guidelines whereby 18 horses are required before a race will be divided.
Furthermore, Bentley defended QR personnel for not adhering to two requests from the Rockhamp-ton Jockey Club (RJC) for latitude to split the race.
"The decision taken on the Rockhampton race was a borderline case and management cannot be criticised for applying the guidelines,'' Bentley said.
Bentley said that Drewlicious, one of the 16 acceptors for the race was declared a runner for Saturday's Clermont races with a jockey declared.
Applying Drewlicious' acceptance at Clermont as part-defence for not dividing at Rockhampton, Bentley said that as only two rid-ers were required for all horses to be "catered for'', the decision was made not to divide the race.
"At this time (9.30am) there was no indication from the club (RJC) or trainers that there was a lack of available riders for the Rockhampton Maiden,'' he said.
Interestingly, Drewlicious was a subsequent Clermont scratching. In a means to dissuade criticism of how QR applied policy in this case, Bentley highlighted it had divided 48 races throughout Queensland this year to "cater for the oversubscription''.