Bundamba bounces back
By Peter Foley
ACTION-STARVED Ipswich horse-racing fans can get some relief today at Bundamba racetrack.
Official barrier trials will be held this morning, heralding the return to racing in the metropolitan area on December 1.
Barrier trials are like mini-races. They are used to increase horses' fitness, educate them and give the trainer an idea of their ability. Racing in Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Toowoomba and Ipswich was put on hold as the equine influenza (EI) outbreak spread.
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said today's barrier trials were part of a massive surge of racehorses back into racing.
"The number of horses trialling around south-east Queensland between now and Monday would be maybe 800," Kitching said yesterday.
"There will be 1100 horses ready to race next weekend in Brisbane, both coasts and Toowoomba.
"The Gold Coast had 21 trials yesterday and they had to ballot out 92 horses.
"About 30 of those horses are coming here. People were offered free transport to Ipswich or Doomben at the same time as us."
He said the first barrier trial today at Bundamba would start just after 8am and there would be eight trials each of six horses.
"Because they're official trials, there will be a racecaller and stewards and the trials will be videoed. They want to record the trials so there's some form for the weekend," he said.
"We've only had one set of official barrier trials before and that was last year. We have regular monthly 900m jump-outs."
The public was welcome to watch the trials today, but the familiar red and green zones applied, Kitching said.
"People involved in racing will have to stay in the stable area the red zone and can watch the trials from the mound in front of the beer garden and the general public will come in the main gate and go straight into the grandstand. That's the green zone," he said.