Widespread field of winners salute at Ipswich track
BALLINA trainer Stephen Lee started his day at Ipswich with a win for the Jim Orman ridden Nothingforthepress at the Ipswich races last Friday.
After that interstate success, other winners came from the coast to the country of South East Queensland.
Winners from the Gold Coast included Holbrook trained by Scott Morrisey and ridden by apprentice Jed Hodge, Lady McCabe for Helen Page and Michael Cahill, and Phoenix Global for Toby Edmonds and Ryan Maloney.
From as far west as Oakey, Shaken Not Stirred won for Matthew Park and Nozi Tomizawi.
Toowoomba-based Rex Lipp's Supersonic Boom won with Michael Cahill aboard.
The last race was Brisbane's only success as Never in Doubt won for the in-form Tony Gollan with Brad Stewart aboard.
Midnight dedication to improve track
WHILE the growing season is upon us, it can be a difficult time of the year for managing race meetings on two counts.
Firstly, the flooding rains occur at this time of the year and secondly the extreme heat that Ipswich encounters around Christmas provide additional challenges in managing the track, especially for race day presentation.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecast was for rainfall of 30 to 60 millimetres through Thursday night and Friday morning.
On the Thursday afternoon it appeared that this rain would eventuate as a significant cell of stormy rain moved from the north west directly towards Ipswich.
However, at 10pm that night the cell which had dumped up to 100mm of rain on its path from the northern downs, petered out just prior to reaching Ipswich.
Track supervisor Sean Tou had not irrigated for fear of an impending washout, and when realising that the expected rain would not eventuate, acted on the fear of too hard a surface for the next day's race meeting.
He got out of bed, made it to the track, and proceeded to irrigate 4mm for the entire course after 10pm on Thursday night.
On Friday mid-morning another cell of rain came from the north west and incredibly separated around Ipswich, leaving the track as a good 4 rating, later to be upgraded to a good 3.
Feedback from trainers and jockeys was highly positive on the racing surface vindicating Sean's midnight care for the course. As if ordered by the thirsty course, the rain did arrive on Friday evening after the races, with around 15mm falling on the track from 6pm Friday night followed by a further 60mm over the weekend.
Another test for the race day management will come on Friday as the early BOM forecast is for a 40 degrees temperature.
Such conditions will require various measures to come into play including an early start for the races, additional equine cooling bays, and so on.
Community shares in season festivities
THERE has been quite a festive season at the Ipswich Turf Club this year and that spirit was evident last Friday.
An attendance topping 1000 is a rare event for the ITC, apart from Cup Day and Labour Day.
To achieve that milestone on Friday was especially pleasing for all involved at the club.
Sincere thanks from the club go to all groups who have supported the historic entity through the Christmas lead up with solid bookings including this Friday.
This has been during a period of infrastructure works which can be somewhat disruptive, however which have seemed not to impact on the festive spirit shown.
The continued support shown by the Ipswich community for the ITC is highly encouraging given the "new world" that will be in place on completion of the long-awaited project.
Festive season racing continues on Friday, followed by a meeting a week later.
Racing in the new year is ushered in with two Saturday dates - January 5 and 12.