It’s fair to say the lead-up to this week’s new rule of unraced runners needing to have an official trial to run in a metropolitan race hasn’t exactly gone smoothly.
Racing Queensland is pressing ahead with the October 3 introduction, a date where Eagle Farm will host a 1000m 2YO Plate.
Trainers have said the communicating of the new rule by RQ was not good enough and further, there was an insufficient number of official trials scheduled.
Last Friday, RQ scheduled a new set of trials for Tuesday at Eagle Farm to help those horses needing to earn the right to start.
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Leading trainer Kelly Schweida is furious at the way the situation has been handled.
“I told my owners they had to trial last Tuesday. They weren’t ready, but they needed to because of the new rule,” he said.
“Sure enough, a text lobs on Friday saying there’s trials at Eagle Farm on Tuesday.
“I wouldn’t have run them last week if I knew that. You can’t just slot them in. They are animals, not machines.
“They are making it up as they go along.”
Trainer Kelly Schweida has expressed his frustration at how the new trial rule has been implemented. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Trainers spokesman Cameron Partington said trainers should have been made aware of the new rule several weeks ago.
“If RQ had been organised they would have announced this rule a month ago or more, and also realised they had a gap in the program and scheduled those trials three weeks ago,” he said. “Good on them for responding, but (the new set of trials) should have always been there once they knew the rule was coming in.”
Punters have long called for all horses to have official trials before starting in a race and RQ has obliged by bringing in the new rule. Trainers aren’t all in alignment though.
Schweida said he understands the reasoning behind the rule, but said Queensland doesn’t have the infrastructure to accommodate it.
“We just don’t have the tracks,” he said. “The rule is fine if we do, but we don’t have them.
“They hardly ever trial at Eagle Farm and at Deagon, you’ve only got the option of 650m, which are useless, and 1050m, which is too far for a horse having its first trial.”
RQ has committed to finding a better pattern in the south-east for trials, which might include programming at different tracks like Ipswich.
Boilover in the Weetwood!
Jadentom kicks away to win today's feature at Toowoomba for Lindsay Hatch👏 pic.twitter.com/aNeGTQblrS
The now Lyndhurst Stud-based Rothesay won the feature race as predicted on Saturday … just a different one to what most expected. After his glamour son Rothfire missed out in the Golden Rose, Rothesay’s seven-year-old daughter Jadentom stepped up to claim the Toowoomba Weetwood.
Bouquets for Ben
Jockey advocate Ben Saunders was on Saturday presented with a Recognition Medal for being a finalist in the Aspire Awards, a national award program recognising the professional and advocacy contribution that people with a disability have given to the public.
Saunders has been nominated in the Sport Award category and the winners will be named next month.
Saunders and fellow jockey Wade Clasohm were involved in a trackwork fall on the morning of the 2017 Weetwood meeting, which left both riders in a wheelchair.
Last year Saunders produced one of the most inspirational moments seen on a racetrack when he got back on horseback and led the field out for the Weetwood.
“While very few of us can imagine what Ben has been through in recent years, his infectious personality and upbeat nature have shown the very essence of who he truly is,” RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell said.
Ben Saunders is a finalist in the Aspire Awards. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:The Courier-Mail
Crowd boost for clubs
Race clubs will be able to welcome up to twice as many patrons from this week with Racing Queensland updating its industry COVID Safe Plan.
Protocols have also been updated to reflect the government changes around the NSW border zone. Essentially it means people and horse transport can revert to normal for NSW border residents, but transport and freight protocols for those outside that zone will remain, meaning they still have to arrive the day prior to a race.
Licensed people in that NSW border zone can attend a race meeting, provided they haven’t attended a declared hotspot in the preceding 14 days.
QRIC has clarified the penalty for harness trainer Donny Smith, who was found guilty of administering an alkalising agent on race day in June this year.
Smith was fined $15,000 and given a fully suspended six month suspension.
It was noted Smith had four previous breaches of this rule in the past five years.
Asked why Smith incurred a fine and not a disqualification for being found guilty of a raceday treatment, harness chief steward David Farquharson said it was because it was not a presentation charge.
“The tested and confirmed levels of TCO2 in this case were just below the allowable threshold but Stewards determined the elevated levels were due to race day administration,” Farquharson said.
Originally published asTrainers angry over rushed trial changes
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