Hot tips for the Cup: Track knowledge provides the edge
- Ipswich Cup - Noisy Ocean from Danchai
- Eye Liner Stakes - Smokin' Joey from Ulmann
ONE of the roles Dan Bowden enjoys more than anything is looking after Ipswich Turf Club sponsors and supporters.
However, the "entertainment officer's'' sharp eye is never far from what's happening out on the track.
Recent work stabilising the root structure and levelling the racing surface has resulted in some track records.
While Bowden said the track was not yet 100 percent right, the long-serving turf club official was confident today's meeting would produce quality racing.
"In my time, the track has changed. It's made it much safer for riders,'' he said, having been on the committee since 1991.
- MORE TIPS: Riders like Jim Byrne worth following
"Simple things like making the Cup 2150. That extra 50 metres allows riders to get a position turning that first turn.''
Bowden recalls what the surface was like many years ago.
"It was made like a road where it had a crown on it,'' he said.
"Once you got out past seven or eight metres, you had trouble getting balance around the turn.
"There was a dip over about the 1000m. As older members would remember, if you stood on the mound at the mile start, all you saw was jockeys' caps.
- MORE TIPS: The zone where race changes course
"Now it has got a two percent camber. That allows the horse to get around the corner more balanced and accelerate around the turn.''
When looking for a winner, Bowden likes to follow jockeys who ride regularly in midweek Ipswich meetings.
He cited examples like South African hoops Jeff Lloyd and Robbie Fradd. "They are true professionals,'' he said.
"I think Jimmy Byrne is a very smart rider. It's not so much the camber that he works on, he works on that short straight. From the 700m to the home turn, he gets himself into a winning position.''
- MORE TIPS: Strategy important in finding a winner