Why common sense must prevail on bush race tracks


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Richmond Turf Club President, David Fox, says country racing will suffer if the ruling bodies don't allow for the realities of the local soil types and the budgets of bush racing clubs.

The Saturday April 1 2017 Maxwelton Race Date was transferred to Mount Isa after unusual scrutiny by Racing Queensland stewards on Friday 31 March 2017 and the morning of 1st April 2017. This was while track preparation was still being completed, a task that could have been completed as late as an hour before scheduled race start times.  This has been the case in any unusual weather or circumstances that might lead to corrective finishing of the track surface.

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Black soil tracks, and any bush tracks for that matter, can have particular character traits that reflect the local country the tracks are built on. Some have hills and hollows, off camber turns and some sand. Some black soils have light top surface and hard base. This adds to the challenges of racing. Bush tracks are not the pampered, watered and costly running surfaces that some may run on in other areas of the state. The idea that bush tracks have safety issues is unrealistic.  Some common sense and experience at a local level by clubs, committee and stewards is often required in regards to surface conditions.

Our districts stewards have always proven to be professional and reasonable to liaise with in matters arising with bush tracks and country racing. I would hope that this congenial approach is to continue and our long-standing committee members and volunteers on race day are treated with respect, and communication about issues is telegraphed in the correct manner.

“But” I fear for the officials and committee alike if it is to emerge that bush racing and once a year meets are to be isolated and abolished due to unrealistic safety standards on infrastructure and track standards, whilst not allowing for the realities of the local soil types and budget capabilities of bush racing clubs.

Is it that our States racing agenda is once again going to be at the demise of once a year meets and loss of race days in general across our bush communities.

Safety is always the number one concern for riders and horses, but a common sense and not a - one size must fit all -approach is required. All bush clubs should take the event at Maxwelton very seriously and determine what the surface standards are that Queensland Racing is looking for?

- David Fox, Richmond Turf Club President 

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