Eagle eyes on Deagon as option to relieve pressure on other southeast Queensland racing venues

The new Eagle Farm surface takes hold, with work on the tunnel in the distance. Picture: Annette Dew

ADDING Deagon to southeast Queensland’s thoroughbred circuit during Eagle Farm’s extended absence is again being investigated by Racing Queensland.

Deagon had been considered a fill-in track under the previous RQ board and with usual tracks stretched, it is seen as an option to relieve pressure on those venues.

“It’s a concept I’ve been asked to have a look at, but it’s very much in the formative stages at the moment,” RQ’s racing operations manager Ross Gove said.

“There would need to be some money spent on infrastructure to bring it up to an acceptable standard for regular racing, and it’s a matter of weighing those costs up with the returns it would give to the business.”

If the decision is taken to add Deagon to the regular southeast Queensland circuit, RQ would need to program 10-12 meetings to make the spend worthwhile.

Deagon is an asset that has divided many in the industry. Last month, the Queensland Racehorse Owners’ Association called for it to be sold.

The cushion track on the Sunshine Coast is another venue under consideration, with Eagle Farm being out of play for another eight months.

“We would be foolish if we didn’t look at all options available to us,” Gove said.

“Everything is on the table at the moment and we need to investigate what will maximise returns to the business.”

Another concept being carefully considered is night racing and the prospect of fitting in with southern venues such as Pakenham in southeast Victoria.

With more certainty over the return date to Eagle Farm next May, the program for next year’s winter carnival is expected to be “locked down” in the next three to four weeks.

Eagle Farm trainers were told last week training would be switched to Doomben on September 11, with a return to Eagle Farm pencilled in for mid-November, where they will have use of a partial circuit.

It is expected Eagle Farm will return to its full training capacity by the end of February next year.

Eagle Farm is expected to be out of action for another eight months. Picture: Annette Dew

 

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail

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