Ipswich to bid for more metropolitan meets
IF the feedback from Ipswich's latest race meeting is any indication, the city is in the proverbial box seat to secure another metropolitan Saturday program.
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching was delighted with the response he received from trainers, jockeys and owners at Saturday's City of Ipswich Spring Cup meeting at Bundamba.
It was the first time since 1991, outside the annual Ipswich Cup meetings, that the turf club hosted a major metropolitan card on a Saturday.
Although just under 2000 people attended, Kitching said a terrific foundation had been laid similar to the Labour Day Cup meeting the ITC instigated a decade ago.
From the first crowd of 1500 in 2007, that meeting now attracts four and a half thousand each year.
Saturday's nine-race meeting featured much better quality fields with $577,000 in prizemoney offered.
Kitching said the trainers, jockeys and owners were especially impressed with the silver champagne goblets awarded after each race.
Among the winners were a representative from Australia's top stable - Chris Waller - and regular Ipswich visiting trainer Tony Gollan. Both stables enjoyed winning doubles.
Waller's representative came from its satellite stable at the Gold Coast.
The visit to Ipswich was rewarded with Loving Home and Vassal sharing the quinella in the Ipswich Spring Stayers Cup (2150m) after Colosimo won the second race of the day.
"It's the first time since he (Waller) set the stable up that they've had two metropolitan wins,'' Kitching said.
Gollan's dual success came from strong finisher Charlie Boy and Bourbon Road in the last race of the day.
He also had a quinella with Frespanol finishing second to the Tiffani Brooker-ridden Charlie Boy in the City of Ipswich Sprinters Cup.
"He (Gollan) said given the dry weather that we've had, the condition of the track was an absolute credit to the whole club - the committee, the staff, the track staff,'' Kitching said.
Four of Queensland's most successful jockeys shared the spoils with Robbie Fradd collecting three wins.
Jeff Lloyd, Jim Byrne and 2017 Ipswich Cup winning hoop Michael Cahill also showed why they enjoy racing on the Bundamba surface.
Rising jockey Matthew McGillvray sprung the upset of the day guiding 40-1 Star Justice to victory over heavily favoured Ice Frost.
The winners left the Ipswich Turf Club with an unexpected bonus, or multiple rewards.
"All of the jockeys and trainers were blown away by these trophies,'' Kitching said.
With the heat peaking at 33 degrees at 2.30pm, the conditions weren't as hot as forecast.
"It was great racing . . . the quality of the trainers with Waller and Gollan with a double each,'' Kitching said.
"Then we had the best of the jockeys around.
"And overall, the stewards were happy with the track.
"It was a good vibe all round.''
The ITC general manager said it was up to Racing Queensland to decide if Ipswich can host another standalone Saturday metropolitan meeting, other than the locked in Ipswich Cup Day program each year.
"We'll put in a request,'' Kitching said, aware Eagle Farm will be used sparingly for the first 12 months when the track is brought back online.
He said the preferred time next year would be early September before the Spring carnival Group racing starts.