Industry pleas to split races
ROCKHAMPTON racing industry stakeholders are hopeful that Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) will extend Thursday's glamour Magic Millions race day at Callaghan Park to nine races.
This could transform the meeting into something really special and add further emphasis to the feature attraction, top filly Snipzu in the $100,000 Magic Millions 2YO Plate (1100m) as well as lifting betting turnover.
There's 23 nominations for both the QTIS 2YO Maiden (1050m) and the Fillies and Mares Maiden (1100m), there was potential for a 10-race card but the Class 6 (1100m) is in doubt of "standing-up" so that scenario is unlikely.
However, the concern of most trainers is the QTIS 2YO which because of the placement of the false running rail out six metres at Callaghan Park, will only allow 10 youngsters to start.
Rockhampton Owners and Trainers Association president Jim Rundle, as well as premier trainer Garnett Taylor, contacted RQL officials with their concerns adding it was crucial that all two-years-old horses accepting for Thursday got a start.
"We simply can't have these young horses missing runs now by being made emergencies because the false rail is out so far when owners have been patient with them getting them to the races," Rundle said.
Rockhampton Jockey Club chairman Justin Doyle said he had made submissions on behalf of the club to RQL chairman Bob Bentley and Director of Product Development Paul Brennan to consider dividing the races.
"They told me the matter would be considered and would depend on acceptances. They said they understood the owners' position in relation to horses missing a run. We (RJC) have asked and now we will just have to wait on the acceptances (9.30am today)," Doyle said.
Local stakeholders are aware the RQL has recently abandoned three Rockhampton races thereby having almost $30,000 prizemoney in reserve to fund divisions.
Warren Williams, RQL's tracks manager, said the rail placement had only reduced the field for the QTIS 2YO but he said he understood the feelings of the owners and trainers.
Trainer Gus Philpot said he believed there was scope for RQL to move the rail back in when it became apparent race field sizes were being jeopardised.
One local owner who won't have to sweat on an RQL decision as to whether his horse gets a start is Rockhampton's Brian Dodson who races outstanding Brisbane filly Snipzu in partnership with a group of friends.
The Liam Birchley-trained filly, the winner of $289,000 in stakes, will contest the $100,000 Magic Millions Plate (1100m) with gifted jockey Glen Colless at the reins.
"She (Snipzu) arrives on Wednesday. Depending on how she pulls-up, then her next assignment will be the $250,000 QTIS Plate (1200m) at the Gold Coast on March 17," Dodson said.
Under the conditions of Rocky Magic Millions, Snipzu will have a tremendous weight advantage with just 55kg whereas had the race been a handicap, she would have been realistically entitled to around 62kg.
Dodson is hopeful Snipzu can become the first youngster with Central Queensland owners to win the feature.