Clifford Park races fall victim to Queensland's big wet

Clifford Park race track at 1.30 this afternoon bearing the scars of persistent Australia Day rain.
Clifford Park race track at 1.30 this afternoon bearing the scars of persistent Australia Day rain. Contributed

TOOWOOMBA'S persistent Australia Day rain claimed an unexpected victim when officials were forced to postpone today's Clifford Park twilight race meeting.

Stewards called off the seven-race program at 4.30pm after the water-logged synthetic course surface was judged unsuitable for racing.

Chief steward Martin Knibbs said the decision to abandon the meeting after more than 100mm of rain on the course was made after consulting with a delegation of jockeys and Toowoomba Turf Club officials.

"The track received 50mm of overnight rain prior to 9am and it continued raining for the majority of the day," Knibbs said.

"Members of the club committee inspected the track around the middle of the day and judged it to be safe for racing.

"But the ongoing inclement weather was a concern and another 55mm of rain fell during the day with a lot of that coming in the afternoon.

"I was advised about 2.30 that the track manager Steve Murphy was working on the track with the Trackmaster but the surface water continued to build."

Club officials, along with jockeys Ron Goltz, Adam Best, Kenji Yoshida, Skye Bogenhuber, Jacque Brown and apprentice Melody O'Brien accompanied stewards on a track inspection.

"The major points of concern were around the 1400-metre mark immediately past the crossing in the pull-up area, where it was extremely wet, and near the 1100 metres was totally sodden," Knibbs said.

"With 11 horses racing over 1600 metres in the first race it would be unavoidable having to race on that section of the track and four of the seven races were to be contested over the track near the 1100 metres.

"The jockeys agreed unanimously it was unsuitable to race on in the prevailing conditions.

"With no prospect of improving weather and the likelihood of jockeys having extremely poor visibility safety was a major concern.

"The surface water was not getting away and some of the day's worst conditions were closing in during the inspection time.

"In consultation with club officials it was decided to postpone the meeting at 4.30pm."

The club will apply to Racing Queensland to run the meeting one day next week, but club chairman Bob Frappell could not hide his disappointment about today's washout.

"I'm livid the meeting had to be called off because the track was unable to drain satisfactorily," Frappell said.

"That's supposed to the strength of the Cushion Track surface.

"It's very disappointing and it further vindicates our decision to return to a grass surface."

Topics:  clifford park postponed racing

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