Sand gets an all-clear at trials
THE previously very much maligned “new” Callaghan Park sand track will officially open for business with new-look, top-shelf refurbishing at the second day of the Rocky Amateurs Carnival in Rockhampton today.
During the past fortnight the embarrassing, failed sand track has been completely refitted with a much more suitable racing and training material which was highly praised by jockeys and trainers who tested it under simulated racing conditions just last Wednesday.
Just over 60 horses competed in 13 heats on the new surface ranging in distances from 900 metres to 400.
The track passed the test with flying colours with horses trialling very competitively and heat winners registering times indicative of that recorded on a turf track.
Callaghan Park curator Richard Harris who at times has borne the wrongful brunt of criticism, was a very much relieved man after the heats.
“At last I have something to smile about. The track not only looks good but the horses handled it well,” Harris said.
Deservedly so, the Rocky Amateurs should be assured of a bumper crowd today as the five-event local card will complement magnificent racing in Melbourne as well as Sydney.
The bumper nine-race Flemington card features many of the top spring racing candidates bolstered by the Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
In Sydney, the ten-race Randwick program is highlighted by the time-honoured Epsom and Metropolitan Handicaps.
Gates will open early at Callaghan Park so punters can get down to business on the Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at 11.45am.
Winners look well hidden at Callaghan Park but it could be another “girls' day out” through Aunty Flo (Alisha Taylor) and Sequedo (Trinity Bannon) winning their respective races.
If all goes to plan, Dashingdesley and Alisha Taylor may just win the Class 1 (1000m) at good odds.