Straddie emerges the big winner from wild ride
SATURDAY’S big wet has paved the way for the most prestigious race meeting in Queensland history next Saturday as officials aim to claw back the cost of another lost Oaks meeting.
Stradbroke day will now double as the grand reopening of Eagle Farm and the first time four Group 1 races have been run on the same day in this state.
Just as it was in 1999, the Group 1 Queensland Oaks will now be run on the day, with the existing field and barrier draw remaining the same, sitting alongside the Stradbroke, Queensland Derby and J.J. Atkins.
The Group 2 QTC Cup has also been transferred to next Saturday and it will replace the Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m). New nominations and acceptors will be taken.
“That gives us four Group 1 and four Group 2 races on a card that will be strongest meeting we have ever hosted in Queensland,” Racing Queensland acting chief executive Sam Adams said.
Both Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club resisted pressure on Saturday to reschedule the Oaks meeting to Sunday or Monday, citing weather concerns and logistics for not proceeding.
“Typically the tried and trusted method is to accommodate the best races and that’s what we have done,” Adams said.
“At the time the decision was made the forecast was still grim and there was every chance it would have been cancelled (today) as well,” Adams said.
“Our main consideration was safety and there was no guarantee that issue would be overcome tomorrow.
“We wouldn’t want to come out and announce a meeting and then have to call it off as well. The experts were telling us there is more rain to come.
“We had jockeys flying in from Sydney and Melbourne. Would they still able to meet those commitments?
“We also have an existing meeting scheduled. If we moved to (today) we would have to make a call on what to do with that meeting.
“From the club’s point of view they had all activations in place for today. Whether they could replicate that would be a big decision.”
Adams said the stage is now set to provide “a fitting” return to Eagle Farm next Saturday.
“We have tried to enhance the status of that race day as much as possible and it’s going to be amazing,” he said.
The BRC went ahead with a phantom meeting on Saturday, with a few thousand people coming through the gates to fulfil their corporate bookings.
“There’s been so much work and effort and planning to go into today to make it a super return to Eagle Farm but mother nature has put her mark on the day,” BRC chairman Neville Bell said.
“It will be a true Super Saturday here at Eagle Farm next Saturday and we will now transfer the results of all the effort that went into today to next week.”
BOOKMAKERS are predicting a “super-duper” Saturday on Stradbroke Day with the Queensland Oaks transferred to the bumper Group 1 program.
Brisbane punters had a day off with the Eagle Farm washout, but bookies UBET are expecting them to splash the cash like never before next Saturday.
“Having the Oaks as an extra Group 1 race on Straddie Day will make it a super-duper Saturday,” UBET’s Gerard Daffy said.
”It will be a massive, massive betting day.”
UBET has now refunded all Oaks bets placed after the final field was declared last Wednesday. However, bets in the all-in Oaks market, before the declaration of the final field, carry over to the reprogrammed Oaks next Saturday.
“The betting market on the Oaks is pretty similar to what it was before the washout,” Daffy said.
Betting on Saturday’s Eagle Farm card had been stifled for much of last week owing to the weather forecast and the uncertainty over which runners would be scratched or secure a run.
That won’t happen this week, with clear skies forecast later in the week.
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby & Ben Dorries Brisbane – Courier/Sunday Mail