Brisbane racing needs a shake-up after disappointing Doomben meeting
OFFICIALS need to get a little more creative in their programming of races in southeast Queensland around Melbourne Cup week.
The volume of meetings means the talent pool is spread very thin.
Trainer Robert Heathcote was furious RQ cancelled the 1050m open handicap set down for Doomben on Saturday after just four horses accepted for the race.
With the Open handicap abandoned, Doomben was only two acceptors away from being a six race card on Saturday, which would have been a total embarrassment.
“We don’t want to be abandoning races but we have to take a commercial stance,” Racing Queensland Chief Executive Darren Condon said.
“This probably highlights the bigger issue of having too much racing at this time of year.
“The shame of that is that it’s the one week of the year where wagering hits its absolute peak in Australia.
“Our wagering product has suffered in the past 10 days with field sizes not where we want them.”
Having Excellantes and Adebisi face off in a four horse field would have added a bit of much needed spice to the Doomben meeting, but Condon insists it would have been a financial disaster.
I put to Condon how that race would have been any less appealing to punters than the dual two-year-old races run at the Gold Coast on October 4, where the majority of runners had not even trialled publicly.
“Those two races were good betting races,” Condon said. “The problem with four horse fields is that you lose out in all of the exotic markets.”
If punters are prepared to bet up, basically blind, on a bunch of unraced two-year-olds, then surely programming a Saturday maiden, with more exposed form, can be entertained when the pool of Saturday class horses is paper thin?
It would be a big winner with owners and with the incentive of Saturday prizemoney, you would be assured capacity fields.
Expect a shake-up in programming when we get to Melbourne Cup week next year.