Kendrick praises industry ahead of first ‘zone’ meet
RACING: Leading Sunshine Coast trainer Stuart Kendrick has praised the industry for their efforts to keep the sport alive as he gears up for the first meet in the newly restructured "zones".
In a bid to further quarantine the industry from the current COVID-19 pandemic and keep horses galloping across the state, Racing Queensland will from this week implement restrictions on travel and meet eligibility.
RQ will divide the state into five different regions, with horses, trainers and jockeys required to stay and race in just one of those regions.
Kendrick is placed in the metro north zone, which includes Corbould Park, Doomben and Eagle Farm.
"I think Racing Queensland have got to be commended for trying to keep everything going and I think most people, even though it's not ideal, really are happy in any form to keep racing at the moment under the current circumstances," Kendrick said.
"I think they've done a pretty good job of trying to put it all together.
"It's very strict and quite regulated on how they're doing it all but I think the theory behind it is if one of the zones ends up with a positive (coronavirus) case then the other zones can still keep going."
The new rules came into affect on Sunday night, with Kendrick's first meet in the restructured format this Wednesday at Corbould Park.
He's entered eight horses, along with two emergencies, for the nine-race card.
Races will be held at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club on Wednesdays with Brisbane hosting meets on Saturdays for the foreseeable future.
"It probably concentrates the horses a little bit and we've obviously got to compete against the top trainers in Tony Gollan and Rob Heathcote from Brisbane but it's a lot better than the alternative, that's for sure."
The winter carnivals have also been cancelled as part of the new measures.
While Kendrick is focused on Wednesday's meet, he's also looking forward to Saturday when his charge Eric the Eel will contest the Australian Derby in Sydney.
The three-yeaar-old was given the green light to travel to the meet but under the new restrictions Kendrick and his staff are not allowed to follow.
Eric the Eel will be stabled with Bjorn Baker while preparing for and recovering from the meet.
"It's a tough field and it's been a very strong year for three-year-olds but I think he deserves his chance," Kendrick said.
"He's won two out of his last three and he's beaten older horses and is probably going to get up to his right distance we've been trying to aim him at."