Sand track fails rain test

ROCKHAMPTON Jockey Club curator Richard Harris said last night the new Callaghan Park turf course was coping well after falls of 130mm of rain over the past few days.

The track, officially opened at a highly successful race meeting last Friday, has more than six kilometres of underground drainage pipes.

“The track is draining well and has responded positively after its first official real test last Friday,” Harris said.

While all is positive with the turf racetrack, the new so-called “all-weather” sand training track has again proved a major disappointment with no means of coping with heavy rain.

“The sand track is a mess and there are markers out around sections which cannot be used for training. Horses certainly cannot do fast work on the track,” Harris said.

The irony is that the new sand track is proving to be a very poor relation to its replacement, on which horses could gallop almost immediately after even heavier rain than has fallen this week.

Queensland Racing Limited chairman Bob Bentley pledged last week during an early morning visit to Callaghan Park that the sand track “will be fixed”.

Bentley said QRL’s chief race track manager-curator Warren Williams had a plan in store to remedy the faults created by heavy rain.

As a result of the latest setback, which is seriously impeding training schedules, QRL is expected to put this in place soon.

Meanwhile, the RJC has again had excellent nominations for the next scheduled grass track meeting on Tuesday.

A total of 125 horses have been entered for the eight-race card.

RJC chief executive Denis Cox is to roll out a new strategy for racegoers and punters which involves relocating the time-honoured downstairs betting ring at Callaghan Park to the upper level of the public grandstand.

“This is being done for patron comfort, thus offering air-conditioning, seating and a better view of the racecourse. It also centralises our patrons creating more atmosphere,” Cox said.

Mackay Turf Club officials were in raptures at the way the Ooralea grass track coped at Tuesday’s TAB races after 350mm of rain was recorded up to Sunday.

The meeting began under a heavy 8 rating which was downgraded to a slow 7 after the second race.

Keep up-to-date with the latest weather information for Rockhampton and surrounds.

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