No sweating on heat policy
SATURDAY'S Magic Millions raceday at the Gold Coast again corresponded with an Ipswich Provincial meeting which has been the case for much of the past two decades.
As the holiday season is still in place and the Brisbane Racetrack looks for somewhat of a break, Ipswich is allocated the meeting to play a part in the program.
As is often the case at this time of the year in Ipswich, the temperature is high and it was no different on Saturday.
The forecast temperature for Saturday in Ipswich continued to climb throughout the week according to the Bureau of Meteorology and predictions on Friday were that the mercury would hit 38 degrees.
A temperature of 40 degrees was reached at Bundamba and unfortunately this meant abandonment of the final five races of the day. This was due to the welfare of the jockeys and horses in the extreme heat.
There is a hot weather policy in place with the Queensland Racing Integrity Unit (QRIC) and Racing Queensland (RQ). This policy was referred to in the lead up to the race meeting.
The policy requires various cooling sprays and ice boxes for horses racing on the day if the temperature rises over 36 degrees.
There are other provisions such as minimising the time in the parade enclosure as well.
The ITC employs these practices on a regular basis when there is warm weather and regardless of whether it has actually reached the 36 degree mark.
If the temperature is forecast to be over 38 degrees it is up to race day stewards to determine during the meeting whether racing should continue from the horses and jockey's safety point of view.
If the temperature is forecast prior to the day to be in excess of 40 degrees, there is consideration given to transferring the meeting to another day as happened last week in Melbourne and Adelaide for the Saturday Metropolitan meetings.
This was also the case for an Ipswich meeting in January four years ago.
The QRIC and RQ teams discussed the forecast weather for the Ipswich race meeting with the ITC raising possibilities of early starts or even deferring the meeting.
However, after these discussions it was agreed to continue to follow the guidelines which require stewards to make the call if the weather gets to the point of requiring a cessation of racing.
As it turned out on Saturday, stewards indeed were required to make the call as the temperature rose above that forecast.
Despite all measures being put in place to ensure welfare of jockeys and horses, the conditions were just too unsuitable to continue.
Favourites at Ipswich:
THERE were only three races contested at Ipswich on Saturday and odds-on favourites saluted in each.
King of the North won for Mick Mair in the first at $1.60, Well Sighted for Tony Sears in the second at $1.70 and Excelebrazione for Peter and Will Hulbert.
These winners were ridden by Taylor Williams, Skye Bogenhuber, and Nathan Day respectively.
Ipswich is back racing tomorrow with another Metropolitan Wednesday meeting prior to a two week break. The final January meeting is the 31st before February Wednesday meetings on 7th, 14th, and 28th and a Friday date on 23rd.