Jockey Jackson Murphy guides Johnny Be Quick to victory in the recent Class 3 Handicap event at the Bundamba Racetrack.
Jockey Jackson Murphy guides Johnny Be Quick to victory in the recent Class 3 Handicap event at the Bundamba Racetrack. Rob Williams

Valuable Ipswich projects under way

THE second week off from racing this year gave Ipswich Turf Club grounds staff an opportunity to work on maintenance projects around the facility.

The two main areas of focus were the course proper and the soon-to-be-opened racing museum.

The course proper underwent scarifying, coring, aerating and heavy top dressing during the two weeks off as the track continues to recover from the works of Racing Queensland four years ago. Those works resulted in levelling of a number of undulations around the course, however the result was near to a sealing of the surface of the track.

The sealing of the surface led to hard tracks in dry times and lost meetings in wet times due to poor drainage on the nearly impenetrable surface.

Another problem was poor root penetration. However, in conjunction with Racing Queensland, a recent revised maintenance schedule has paid dividends. It is expected to pay further dividends following the recent works.

Over the past few months of racing there were two meetings which proceeded on heavy tracks after 60mm rain on the previous evening. This was unheard of at Bundamba in the past due to the poor draining surface.

Heavy aerating in recent times has been a key. The top dressing last week will further assist to loosen up the surface.

The top dressing, fertiliser and various machinery have been supplied by Racing Queensland as part of the Infrastructure project. This assistance has already helped in making a positive change to Bundamba course proper racing surface.

The conversion of a 60 year old disused Tote shed - used recently for storage - into the Ipswich Racing Museum has been progressing well.

Memorabilia is being collected and arranged and the internal refurbishment is near completion.

Revised program

THE next steps for the infrastructure project at the Ipswich Turf Club include painting of the site facilities, including the exterior of the refurbished museum building, and the exterior of all existing buildings to remain throughout the project.

The museum is planned for opening on May 18 by the Racing Minister Hon. Sterling Hinchliffe in conjunction with the ITC and the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce.

Group 1 winning trainer Anthony Cummings is visiting from Sydney to assist on the day as his late father Bart Cummings won the big double on Ipswich Cup Day 1978 with Lloyd Boy in the Ipswich Cup and Better Beyond in the Eyeliner Stakes.

James Cummings is the next generation of the family who is training Group 1 winners in his position of trainer of the powerful Godolphin stable - winners of two races on Ipswich Cup Day last year.

Apart from early works including painting, roof corrections, and kitchen relocation, the majority of works including demolition of the old jockeys and stewards room are planned to commence soon after the Ipswich Cup.

This will lead to the building of the new jockeys and steward's rooms along with the second level Member's Lounge and Events Centre all to be completed early 2019.

Group 1 battles

DAYSEE Doom collected the only Group 1 race of the day in the Coolmore Stud Classic on Saturday at Rosehill as the Sydney Autumn Carnival moves into full swing.

This week is Super Saturday at Rosehill with five Group 1 races. Included is the return of super mare Winx in the George Ryder Stakes, the world's richest two-year-old race the Golden Slipper, the Ranvet Stakes, Rosehill Guineas and the Galaxy.

Next meeting

Racing at Ipswich this week is on Thursday, followed by a meeting on Wednesday, March 28. The three programmed April meetings are Wednesdays 4th and 18th and Friday 13th.