By David Gilbert
THE wheels are in motion for a new all weather training track to be built at the Glenburnie racecourse.
It certainly will not happen overnight as the age-old problem of funding has to be resolved and Racing SA also has a couple of more urgent projects on its books at present.
Racing SA CEO Nick Redin spoke to The Border Watch earlier this week, acknowledging the fact that trainers in the lower South East often have to truck their horses long distances to meet training requirements during winter.
That is certainly the case whenever the Glenburnie track is closed for trainers to use and the nearest all weather track is at Millicent.
However, for the first time in ages, the Millicent racecourse was closed this week to trainers due to surface water on the track.
“We (Racing SA) were in Mount Gambier earlier this year and consulted with both the Mount Gambier racing club committee and local trainers in regards to a new fibre sand training track being built at Glenburnie,” Redin said.
“It will be an all weather track to replace the current training track (the steeplechase track) inside the course proper.
“Already we have consulted with engineers about the designing of the track and now we have to work out how to pay for it, hopefully through government funding.”
According to Redin, Morphettville already has a fibre sand track which has proven to be a great success.
Redin pointed out the new facility here will be for training purposes only and not for official racing.
“We want to establish Mount Gambier as a major training centre and build up the numbers of horses working there,” he said.
Racing SA also has plans for a reconstruction of the Strathalbyn racecourse which always has problems each winter with a low spot on the course proper which brings racing to a halt.
NO PRESENTATION DAY
FOR the second year running, Limestone Coast Thoroughbred Racing has cancelled its annual presentation/luncheon day.
The seemingly never-ending COVID pandemic saw its demise last year and again this year for the afternoon which was set down for Sunday, August 15 out at Glenburnie.
Did LCTR officials go the early crow by calling it off three and a half weeks prior to the actual date?
The presentation day has been part and parcel of local racing for over 30 years and has been held at all clubs except Bordertown.
As with last year, the awards and premierships will be presented to the recipients through a video link.
The four finalists for the two Limestone Coast Horse of the Year awards have been released.
For the award for performances anywhere by a Limestone Coast trained galloper, the four to make the cut are Farooq (trained by Sue Murphy), Muntham Missile (Belinda O’Loughlin), Royal Mile (Lee Creek) and Territory Titan (James Dodgson).
The finalists for performances by horses solely on Limestone Coast tracks in the 2020-21 season are Bossy Britches (Michael O’Leary), Cuban Toonite (Sue and Jason Jaensch), Dr Dee Dee (Darryl Dodson) and Pewter (Sue Murphy).
WEEK OFF FOR THE VICS
THERE has been no racing in Victoria since last Sunday and meetings will resume tomorrow.
It has nothing to do with COVID, but through a decision made by Racing Victoria over 12 months ago to give participants a week off at the end of the current season.
In Hong Kong, one of the leaders of world racing, they have at least two months off each year for everyone to recharge their batteries.
You would think participants would welcome a break from racing in the midst of winter, albeit one week, but there has been a backlash in the past fortnight from several disgruntled Victorian trainers who oppose the week off.
While Victorian racing has ground to a halt, it is just the opposite this week for racing here in South Australia.
There was racing at Balaklava on Wednesday, Gawler yesterday (postponed from last Wednesday week), Morphettville Parks today (the remains of last Saturday’s washed out meeting with a few races tacked on), Morphettville tomorrow and Port Augusta on Sunday.
While COVID restrictions were lifted somewhat earlier this week, crowds still cannot attend race meetings in South Australia.
The public, at this stage, will be allowed back on track in South Australia as from the Gawler meeting next Wednesday.
Our wild, wintry weather has also had an impact on harness racing in South Australia with the Globe Derby Park meeting called off last Saturday night.
It was postponed until last Tuesday night, replacing the co-share meetings scheduled for Port Pirie and Mount Gambier that night which had previously been abandoned.
APPRENTICE Jacob Opperman’s name has been missing from the riding ranks this week and will be again next week.
The youngster, who has taken all before him this season, is currently mid-way through a fortnight’s quarantine out at Mingbool, thanks to COVID requirements.
Opperman spent a week riding in and around Melbourne last week before coming home last Sunday.
While he is yet to ride a winner in Melbourne, he is getting closer with every visit.
After riding a winner at Ballarat last Sunday week, Opperman then had success at Cranbourne, almost a suburb of Melbourne these days, five days later.
That was for the Matthew Ellerton/Simon Zahra stable aboard the $3.60 favourite Frisson in the 1200-metre class one handicap.
POSER FOR THE REAL OLDIES
THE Naracoorte meeting on Sunday, August 22 has both a hurdle and steeplechase programmed.
No great surprise about a hurdle race, as one was conducted at Naracoorte around three years ago after a 19-year absence.
But a steeplechase?
That will be a novelty as nobody I have spoken to can recall the last time a steeplechase was held there.
Yes, there were definitely jumps over the big fences at Naracoorte but, alas, the only people I could think of who could give an accurate answer have gone to the racecourse up in the sky.
Even 82-year-old Trevor Little, a life member of Limestone Coast Thoroughbred Racing, a former amateur jumps jockey and an avid jumping fan, could shed no light on the matter.
I would suggest it may have been back in the 1950’s or earlier and would appreciate any feedback.