Number one: Jockey Matthew Palmer enjoys his win aboard Ecker Road at Ipswich racetrack.
Number one: Jockey Matthew Palmer enjoys his win aboard Ecker Road at Ipswich racetrack. Cordell Richardson

Why so much relief was felt at race meeting

AS Ecker Road crossed the line in first place for Gold Coast based trainer Bruce Hill and rider Matthew Palmer last Wednesday, there were already many people breathing a sigh of relief at how well the Ipswich track raced.

After being without racing for two and a half weeks due to weather affected tracks, racing was back on at Bundamba. That was despite the storm which dumped 52 mm of rain three days earlier on the Sunday afternoon.

Not only was racing back on but the track was upgraded prior to the start of racing to a soft 7, then throughout the day to finish as a soft 5.

While a few meetings had been lost, the short break from racing combined with good rain to allow the Ipswich track staff to produce a superb racing surface.

Stewards, trainers, jockeys and punters all agreed that the track was consistent and gave all runners a chance to produce their best. The times of races were sound from the outset, leading to the continual upgrades to the track rating.

Lloyd dominates again

FORMER globe-trotting jockey Jeff Lloyd continues to ride in near career best form. His skills were on show again on Wednesday.

Lloyd collected three wins at Ipswich to take him to an incredible tally of 16 just three months into the season.

Lloyd's winners were Frangipani Moon for David Vandyke, Ahwahneechee for the Ross/Sweeney stable, and Kemsrey for the Tony Gollan camp.

Premiership leader Tony Gollan moved to 10 winners for the season with a double on Wednesday after All Important won the last with Brad Stewart in the saddle.

Gollan is four wins ahead of David Vandyke.

Jim Byrne didn't ride a winner last week at Ipswich. He remains on 10 season winners.

Behind this pair are James Orman and Ryan Maloney, both on five after collecting a winner each on Wednesday.

Orman was successful aboard Kelly Schweida's Arterial after Maloney had won with Toby Edmonds' Usmanov earlier in the day.

Cup strike averted

AFTER the losses of nearly a dozen race meetings as a result of rain in mid-October, there were further losses over the weekend due to industry strikes.

The meetings at Doomben, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, and Townsville were all lost on Saturday as trainers, jockeys, and breeders all protested against the lack of certainty on the distribution of Point of Consumption (POC) tax monies from the Government.

There was however a resolution to the damaging dispute as the State Government on Friday promised to add a further $26m yearly to thoroughbred prizemoney. The bulk of this increase commences this week.

This promise averted further threatened strike action on Melbourne Cup Day next week.

Infrastructure project closer

DESPITE continued delays with the project, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Ipswich Turf Club Infrastructure as a tenderer has been selected, and the contract is currently undergoing the signing process.

The latest expectation is that a contractor will be on site undertaking the demolition phase, early in November.

Simply Winxational

SUPER mare Winx won an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Saturday, stamping herself as a true champion of the turf in Australia - if ever there was any doubt.

Her record speaks for itself - four Cox Plates and 29 consecutive wins, mostly at Group 1 level, and along the way highlighting all that is good about thoroughbred horse racing.

The Spring Carnival will be completed over the next two weeks through the Flemington four-day Melbourne Cup carnival.

First up is Derby day on Saturday, before the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday, then Oaks day on Thursday, and finally Stakes Day on November 10.

Next meetings

IPSWICH races on Friday. There is a Melbourne Cup luncheon at the Ipswich Turf Club on Tuesday, before racing resumes next Thursday, corresponding with the Flemington Group 1 VRC Oaks Day.