FAVOURITE: Jockey Jim Byrne is expected to continue his consistent recent form at Ipswich racetrack.
FAVOURITE: Jockey Jim Byrne is expected to continue his consistent recent form at Ipswich racetrack. Cordell Richardson

Higher prizemoney motivations for new season



WEDNESDAY is the first race meeting of the new season for the Ipswich Turf Club after all thoroughbreds had a birthday last week.

August 1 is the official stud book date for raising the age of thoroughbreds regardless of the actual date of birth.

This ensures that all horses race in their correct age group at all times of the season, regardless of whether they have actually reached their birth date or not.

The only difficulty with this arrangement is when a northern hemisphere galloper visits Australia and due to the different breeding seasons will be categorised as six months older.

This worked in favour of the past two Melbourne Cup winners Rekindling and Cross Counter, both northern hemisphere three-year-old gallopers, weighted favourably and shown in the form guides as four-year-olds on Australian times.

Makybe Diva was another bred in the northern hemisphere and one who was deemed too immature to head for the Melbourne Cup in her northern hemisphere three-year-old season. That ended up being a wise decision as she famously won the next three Melbourne Cups in 2003, 2004, and 2005.

Nominations are normally high around this time of the year as gallopers are coming back to racing for the Spring and there is no difference at Ipswich on Wednesday.

A large number of 165 nominations have been received for the eight race card, with the higher prize money for Metropolitan racing on offer providing another motivation to nominate at Ipswich.

The movable rail is back in the true position allowing full fields of up to 16 runners for each race and hence a big day of racing at Ipswich.

A betting man would be backing Tony Gollan for a sixth consecutive trainer's premiership judging by the winning margin in the recently completed season.

From a jockey's viewpoint, Jim Byrne would be a clear favourite to restore his title after being interrupted by Jeff Lloyd over the past two seasons.

Lloyd is now retired and Byrne is back in good form after an injury enforced layoff for much of this calendar year.

Bright season ahead

WHILE there may be a period without racing in the current season due to track works by Racing Queensland at some point, the outlook is bright for the historic site.

The long awaited infrastructure improvements are well underway and expected to be entirely completed during the current season.

The parade enclosure is looking stylish with a new winning post and 100 metres of new fencing splitting the course proper from the enclosure.

The new jockeys and stewards rooms with upstairs member's lounge is nearing completion and projected to be only weeks away from service.

Racing Queensland are also working on a new set of race day stalls planned to be completed early 2020. In parallel, work on the course proper surface and installation of the new car park are planned as required for the soon to be completed building.

Additionally, works to come include widening of TL Cooney Avenue and construction of a new workshed for the club.

While exact timings are not fully set, what is known is that it will be a completely different scene at the Ipswich Turf Club at the start of the 2020 racing season.

Next meetings

The first meeting of the new season is on Wednesday, followed by Friday August 16, Wednesday, August 21 and Friday, August 30.