Simplier solution to Mile issue
WE have run with 12 horse fields in "Mile'' (1660 metre) races at Albion Park for several seasons now.
The ruling premise has been "the more runners, the more turnover''.
Having found that this theory perhaps failed to stack up in practice, and also that a diminished horse pool could not guarantee a full field on every occasion, the Queensland Harness Racing Board were ready to listen to further opinion from trainers. That is that a third factor cast doubts on the suitability of the 12 horse format.
It was argued that, given the short duration of the 1660m event, barrier positions had become far too important, and horses with "unfavourable" alleys were being denied an even winning chance.
To this end, QHRB have instituted a trial of the 10 horse format as follows.
"Following feedback from industry participants, Racing Queensland is pleased to advise that a three-month trial will be introduced where the field limit for 1660m races at Albion Park will be reduced to 10 runners.''
"Racing Queensland has elected to coincide the trial period with start of the new racing season on September 1.
"This limit only relates to races of 1660m held at Albion Park, all other field limits will remain unchanged.
The seeded barrier positions for a field limit of 10 will be conducted in the following way: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 6, 7, 10.''
There is a simpler solution.
Cut out the "mile'' events and bring our sport back to a mix of middle distance and staying races, including stands. This will lessen the importance of barrier draws and restore the visual spectacle.
While the preceding statement may attract a charge of heresy, it might bring us a few more fans who pride themselves on having an attention span of longer than one minute and 55.0 seconds.
As to the spectre of losing favour with Sky Channel due to time consumption factor associated with longer races, an upgrade of our pre-start procedures would soon save us the extra minutes we would need.
AN update from the "State of Origin'' series for young drivers, which had its first round of three heats at Menangle last Tuesday.
It shows the Blues well in front with two wins to one.
As often happens in this type of contest, where horses are assigned by ballot, someone gets a chance to demonstrate skills previously thought not to exist.
Flying the blue flag is Newcastle-based Kylie Barnes, who took out the first two heats, driving two totally different races. He led and grinded home on Miss Artistic Tara, then waiting patiently at the rear to bring El Chango with the big late charge.
Barnes has been licenced since 2010. In that period, he has had 543 drives for 53 wins and 107 placings.
Like so many others, Barnes has the skills, but lacks the horseflesh with the quality to take her forward.
In the last heat at Menangle, Queenslander Trent Moffat put the maroons up on the board, partnering Fellas R Trouble to victory.
Our girls picked up some valuable place points from seconds by Brittany Graham and Chantal Turpin, with Narissa McMullen contributing two thirds to the pot.
How did Brittany Graham make the team?
It seems that Pete McMullen incurred the wrath of the stewards panel late last week and commenced a 14 day suspension on the Sunday prior to the series.
Graham's current season stats of 248 drives for 40 wins 63 places and 29 fourths easily qualified her for a jersey on the maroon team.
When you read this, it will all be over, as the final three heats will have been decided yesterday at Albion Park.
'Richo' strikes form
CONSIDERING the Kylie Barnes scenario, we should look at the positive attitude of Wagga (NSW) based trainer/driver Adam Richardson.
"Richo'' has had two stints in Queensland, the first with Darrel Graham. The second saw him training a small team of basically second hand stock.
His runners were well trained and very well presented, but, their lack of real ability saw Richardson in the swim but treading water.
Nothing appeared likely to happen.
A month or so back, "Richo'' headed home to Wagga.
He has had some 15 drives to date for four wins and two placings, a much better strike rate than he was able to manage here.
If he continues to drive horses of the calibre of Cams Victory and Lily Lane, he will become a good sized fish in the elite Riverina pond.
A CORRECTION from last week. The Metro Claimer purse stays at $8000, the 50% lift to $12,000 apples to another race on the program.
UNOFFICIAL trials are being held at Marburg tomorrow morning.
Nominations at 7.15am and first education goes at about 8am.
Hot and cold drinks, and beaut breakfast burgers, are available.
Come along and black book a winner for the next race meeting on September 13.
SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight: R1 - Box trifecta 2-3-11: Gooday Stride (B. Cockburn)- Supabet (H. Barnes)-Montana Falcon (B. Graham).
R2: E/w 6: Timeseel (S. Graham).
R3: E/w 6: Nonno Stride (M. Neilson). R4: E/w 3: Ideal Tact (R. Law). R5: Box trifecta 8-9-10: Master Grinner (P. Greig)-Max Richter (G. Dixon)-Red Luck (A. Sanderson).
R6: E/w 1: Moonlight Spirit (G. Dixon). R7: Box trifecta 3-5-7: Emperor Montana (A. Sanderson)-Drunken Desire (S. Graham)-LeBron (R. Gorman).
R8: Box trifecta 5-8-9: Our Overanova (G. Dixon)-Its Three By Two (C. Sneddon)-Justanother maori (C. Turpin). R9: Box trifecta 3-6-8: Rib And Roll (G. Whitaker)-Constantly Sideways (D. Chalk)-Pub Express (M. Neilson).
A SHUFFLE on the leader bard this week with Bill Crosby and Chantal Turpin dividing the trainer's laurels at three winners apiece and Garry Whitaker out on his own in the driving department also on three.
Albion Park, August 22: Major Sam (Brittany Graham for Darrel Graham); Courageous Kiwi (Pete for Chantal Turpin); Whosemefather (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Just A Fling (Denis Smith).
Albion Park, August 23: Justanothermaori (Pete for Chantal Turpin).
Albion Park, August 25: Miss Catalina (Ricky Gordon); Kyvalley Racer (Kay Crone for Gavin Crone); Colada Rainbow (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Four Jokers (Narissa for John McMullen).
Redcliffe, August 27: Abercrombie Zombie Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin); Rib And Roll (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Whosemefather (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby).