Ipswich track to be shut down


AS Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch had foreshadowed in his Annual Report at the Annual General Meeting on September 20, the Ipswich racetrack is to undergo works.

The surface will be unavailable for racing from November 2019 to March 2020.

The announcement by Racing Queensland detailed the scope of works to be undertaken at Ipswich, as well as the ramifications for racing.

In the announcement, it was noted that "works to remediate the Bundamba Racecourse will commence on November 4".

"As part of the $24.8m redevelopment at the Ipswich Turf Club, replacement of the decades old irrigation infrastructure and drainage will soon commence, with racing to resume at Bundamba in April 2020."

The track works are to be done at the same time as the other elements of the previously approved project including installation of new race day stalls, new carpark, widening of T L Cooney Avenue, and completion of the new building housing stewards, jockeys, and the new ITC Member's Lounge.

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe was quoted as saying: "The Ipswich Turf Club is a critical component of the state's racing infrastructure - hosting almost 50 race meetings last year and serving as a training facility."

Hinchliffe also said "with more than 20,000 people attending the recent Ipswich Cup, it is one of Queensland's most popular race days and a vibrant hub for the community."

While Racing Queensland completes the Infrastructure project, the ITC is going about refurbishing and reinvigorating the existing lounges and facilities preparing for a grand opening of a completely new site in April 2020.

The ITC works involve refurbishment of the Eye Liner Lounge, Jibboom Lounge and various outside facilities.

Group 1 upset

THERE were three Group 1 races over the three days of the weekend and the biggest shock was kept for the Underwood Stakes on Sunday.

Nine-year-old Black Heart Bart collected his sixth Group 1 title and second Underwood Stakes success after winning the race in 2016.

He had not won a race since early 2017 and had almost a year off prior to his return for the current preparation.

To say that Black Heart Bart was somewhat unwanted in the betting is an understatement as he started at 100-1, by far the rank outsider of the field.

To further highlight the current stocks, or lack thereof, in the up and coming middle distance ranks in Australia, three of the first four in the race were nine-year-olds in the twilight of their racing careers.

Gailo Chop ran third and Hartnell fourth while second placegetter was Homesman, a five-year-old import for prominent owner Lloyd Williams.

Other weekend Group 1 winners were Biouvac which won the Golden Rose at Rosehill on Saturday, and Nature Strip which won the Moir at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

This weekend features the Epsom, Metropolitan, and Flight Stakes at Randwick and in Melbourne it is the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.

Next meetings

Ipswich racing returns tomorrow.

Other scheduled October meetings are Wednesday 9th, Friday 18th, Thursday 24th, and Wednesday 30th before the break from racing in November to March.