Toowoomba track given more time to recover before winter carnival
TOOWOOMBA’S troubled track will be given as long as necessary to recover as officials hold their breath going into the winter carnival.
Toowoomba has been out of play since January 17 and officials announced on Tuesday that the course proper would be given at least another two weeks to recover.
The February 21 meeting has been moved to the inner track, while the February 28 meeting has been transferred to Warwick.
“It definitely needs more time,” Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon said. “Our aim is to make sure the track is right.’’
In a surprise move, Toowoomba was parachuted into this year’s winter carnival schedule and officials are desperate not to repeat the embarrassing events of New Year’s Eve, when the surface was widely condemned as not suitable for feature racing.
“We’re confident we will eventually get it back to a level that is just as good as Mackay,’’
“We’re trialling different blends of grass that might work better with the climate in Toowoomba.
“The problem has been the grass at the moment is a very heavy thatching grass, which means it hinders drainage and also has a lot of kickback.”
Officials admitted to over-using the new Strathayr track after it opened on December 31, 2013, and that traffic was exacerbated by management issues.
It now seems likely Toowoomba will be given an annual rest, to help it recover from one of the heaviest racing schedules in the country.
“I do think we need a maintenance program where the track receives a break every year,” Condon said.
Fields on the inner track will be reduced by between two and four runners, depending on distances.
■ FINAL results from Queensland’s nine irregular tests to cobalt will not be available for at least another week.
Racing Queensland expects to receive test results from Western Australia by tomorrow “at the earliest” and then the samples will undergo referee analysis at another lab.
Racing Victoria this week revealed their probe into samples taken from horses of high-profile trainers Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh would be finished by the end of next month.