Shoneck Affair (number 6), ridden by Ronnie Stewart, narrowly wins the Tony Williams Memorial race at Bundamba racetrack.
Shoneck Affair (number 6), ridden by Ronnie Stewart, narrowly wins the Tony Williams Memorial race at Bundamba racetrack. Rob Williams

Premier trainer strikes early

MULTIPLE Ipswich Trainer's Premiership winner Robert Heathcote collected his second victory at Ipswich for the current season at the August Metropolitan Wednesday meeting.

The win of Shoneck Affair, which was ridden by Ronnie Stewart, gave Heathcote two winners at Ipswich for the first month of the season - a strike rate which would just about win the premiership if maintained across the year.

Heathcote had great success at Ipswich a few years ago starting the run of multi-million dollar winning galloper and five-time Queensland horse of the year Buffering at the Labour Day meeting in 2010.

Heathcote was also the first trainer to win the Ipswich Cup twice with the same galloper - Our Lukas in 2009/2010.

The past few years have belonged to dominant trainer Tony Gollan who has collected three consecutive premiership titles at Ipswich.

Gollan was at it again on Wednesday collecting his third winner for the month with Capital Connection, which was ridden by Jim Byrne for his second winner of the new season.

Byrne has also collected three consecutive Premiership wins at Ipswich to amass an impressive total of eight career senior rider titles.

However other riders also had wins on Wednesday to move ahead of Byrne at this early stage of the season.

Robbie Fradd won aboard Desleigh Forster's Lady Lark to collect his fourth winner in the first month of the season and a number of jockeys sit on three wins including former Ipswich Premier jockey Michael Cahill.

Luke Dittman who rode a winning double is another on three season wins after winning on the Darlene Duryea trained pair of Punkenstein and Ice Frost.

This latter galloper is somewhat of an Ipswich specialist having now won three from four starts at the Bundamba circuit out of her five career starts.

Jeff Lloyd is the other jockey with three season wins after guiding the Matt Dunn trained Sky Team to a win in the last of the day.

More schedule changes

AN additional eight Wednesday race days will soon be allocated to Ipswich between late November and end of March as a result of the prolonged Eagle Farm outage.

These additional eight meetings replace four Friday dates and three Thursday dates, with a new Wednesday date added in the week after Easter.

While the changes result in discontinuity to the Ipswich Turf Club in relation to race meetings, there are significant positives from the changes including the allocation of the Saturday, September 23 Metropolitan meeting.

This date has been granted to Ipswich and various areas of the community are already supporting the day. Most function rooms are sold out and the day will include $575,000 prizemoney.

There will be nine strong races including the City of Ipswich Spring Stayers Cup as well as the Sprinters Cup.

Free entry and free children's entertainment will provide somewhat of a carnival atmosphere and there is a "Free for a Year" prize to be given away to a lucky patron.

This single prize includes XXXX beer and Sirromet wine for a year, a Hans trailer to store this product, and a family year pass to the Sea World, Movie World, and Wet and Wild theme parks on the Gold Coast. An annual membership to the Ipswich Turf Club is also included.

This is the largest race meeting at Ipswich for many years apart from Cup Day. It will revive the Bundamba meets of three decades ago which included the win of the people's hero Vo Rogue over 1200 metres in 1987.

Next meeting

Ipswich racing continues tomorrow with the first of two Metropolitan Wednesday September meetings (the other is the 27th), before a Friday (15th) and the major Metropolitan Saturday meeting on the 23rd.