Breakthrough win in Ipswich
THE open maiden plate at Ipswich on Friday was dominated by the surname Thomas as King Drabadore broke his long run of outs.
Part owned by Mrs K. Thomas, trained by Trevor Thomas on the Sunshine Coast and ridden by former NSW jockey Nathan Thomas, King Drabadore scored in the second race.
King Drabadore was having his 14th career start and the $9100 first prize more than doubled his prior career earnings from those 13 winless visits to the races.
The four-year-old gelding had his first two race starts at Doomben in December 2014. Since then, he had raced 11 times consecutively at his home track at the Sunshine Coast over a period of two and a half years.
The closest King Drabadore had got to winning was a second at the Sunshine Coast last September. On that occasion, the Trevor Thomas trained galloper was ridden by Nathan Thomas at one of a handful of rides aboard.
The trainer decided to try something new after two and a half years without a win and that was a visit to Ipswich.
King Drabadore relished the heavy conditions under Nathan Thomas.
Track holds up in wet
FRIDAY'S race meeting at Ipswich came close to cancellation through the day as the surface just managed to hold up for the entire meeting.
A Wednesday evening shower of 7 millimetres resulted in a downgrade of the track to a soft 7. However by Friday morning at 7.30am, with no further rain since that shower, the track was back to a soft 6.
Many calls were fielded from around South East Queensland as licensees and punters were astounded that there was no rain to that point in the morning as decent falls were being recorded at many other nearby centres. However, showery rain started at Ipswich around 8.30am and continued on until mid-afternoon.
The stewards initially downgraded the track to a heavy 8 mid-morning, and during the first few races further downgrades moved the rating to a heavy 10.
At this point the stewards considered that another shower would result in cancellation of the meeting. However that extra shower did not come with the final race being run in sunlight.
One step taken by the stewards was to shorten the final race from 1680 metres to 1350 to ensure that the worst part of the course at the 1400-1600 was not raced on.
Chief of Stewards Chris Albrecht monitored the situation across the day. Despite 42 scratchings, he ensured the race meeting was completed without incident.
Byrne retains handy lead
PREMIERSHIP leading jockey Jim Byrne was absent from Ipswich on Friday, giving a chance for other jockeys to make up some ground on his lead in the final month of the season.
Robbie Fradd managed to collect a win aboard Bred for Luck to give him 26 for the season - still four behind Byrne heading for his 11th title.
Scratchings due to the track across the day meant that Fradd's book of rides was reduced from six to two.
Leading Queensland jockey Jeff Lloyd also did not ride at the meeting as his only two mounts were scratched.
Michael Cahill continued his record of a winner at each Ipswich meeting since winning the Ipswich Cup aboard Self Sense.
Cahill won Friday's first race of the day aboard the Trevor Miller trained Ima Farmboy.
Ipswich racing continues over the next two Fridays - July 14, and 21 - before a Wednesday meeting on July 26.