Eagle Farm to be ruled out for Brisbane winter carnival; Stradbroke Handicap moved to Doomben

River Lad wins the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.

River Lad wins the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm. Source: News Corp Australia

 

RACING Queensland will this week rule out the use of Eagle Farm racecourse for the Queensland winter carnival next year meaning the $2 million Stradbroke Handicap will be run over 1350m at Doomben instead.

RQ officials are expected to make the announcement either today or tomorrow where a new winter carnival schedule will be released.

It comes after months of speculation about whether the Eagle Farm track upgrade would be complete in time to hold its feature winter carnival meetings on May 30, June 6 and June 20 next year.

Brisbane Racing Club chairman Neville Bell said the construction work on the course proper was ticking along well but confirmed Eagle Farm won’t be used during next year’s winter carnival.

“The construction work on the course proper is probably ahead of schedule but they stopped work on Friday for the Christmas break and will resume on January 5,” Bell said.

“That is all progressing well and we are waiting on the contractor for the flood mitigations and infield work but that should be announced within the next week.

“But it’s obvious the Stradbroke and winter carnival (next year) from Brisbane’s point of view will be held at Doomben.”

Trainer Natalie Mccall gives 2014 Stradbroke Handicap winner River Lad a kiss.

Trainer Natalie Mccall gives 2014 Stradbroke Handicap winner River Lad a kiss. Source: News Corp Australia

 

RQ received plenty of criticism earlier this year after works on the Eagle Farm course proper didn’t start for more than two months after the track was closed.

RQ chairman Kevin Dixon admits the situation next year is not ideal but he is not prepared to take any risks with the new Eagle Farm surface.

“If there has been a lesson learnt from all the track reconstructions around Australia … racing too soon on them is the worst thing you can do,” he said.

RQ have also learnt their lesson after encountering problems with the new Toowoomba grass track, which opened late last year.

“We raced on it too soon and too often and either one of those is a problem,” Dixon said.

“It lessons learnt out of Toowoomba and the Kensington track … and if economics allowed it when you built a new track you wouldn’t race on it for two years.”

There have been calls from some trainers to move next year’s Stradbroke Handicap to the Sunshine Coast to keep it at its traditional 1400m distance.

But Dixon confirmed the rich race will be run over 1350m at Doomben in 2015.

Bell hopes Eagle Farm will be ready to start hosting meetings again from August 15 next year where they plan to celebrate the 150th anniversary of racing at the track.

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/eagle-farm-to-be-ruled-out-for-brisbane-winter-carnival-stradbroke-handicap-moved-to-doomben/story-fnii0mrv-1227163689721

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