Racing Queensland fends off trainer’s appeal
RACING Queensland has resisted calls to split this week's Two-Year-Old Handicap at the Gold Coast despite the pleas of a leading trainer.
With Magic Millions places up for grabs, 30 horses have been nominated for Saturday's 1100m race which will be the final chance for trainers to earn the prizemoney needed to get into the field of 16 for the $2 million 2YO Classic, to be held a week later at Aquis Park.
Leading trainer Tony McEvoy, who won the 2018 2YO Classic with Sunlight, slammed officials for a rule restricting the fields in two-year-old races in the first part of the season.
"What an antiquated, stupid rules that is," McEvoy said of a system that limits the field to two less horses.
Racing Queensland initially told Gold Coast officials it was looking into splitting this week's race in to two, allowing enough room for the horses currently nominated to run.
"Racing Queensland confirms that depending on acceptance numbers received it will consider the division of the QTIS 2YO Handicap (1100m, $105k) at the Gold Coast TC race meeting on Saturday 5 January," a statement from the governing body said.
Yet a later statement confirmed there would be no change, there they have bizarrely added a race to the January 9 program, one which appears too late given most trainers wouldn't run their gallopers again before Magic Millions day.
"Racing Queensland confirms that the 2YO Handicap $105,000 1100m programmed for this Saturday will not be subject to division, and will remain as published in the Racing Calendar (in accordance with Local Rule 6 (2))," the statement read.
"In addition, following consultation with the Australian Trainers Association, an additional 2YO Handicap $30,000 1100m will be added to the Doomben program on Wednesday 9 January.
"Racing Queensland will engage with stakeholders post the Summer Racing Carnival to review current scheduling, with a view to continuing the growth and opportunities available to all participants leading into Magic Millions race day."
Gold Coast Turf Club CEO Steve Lines said he would like to see the rule changed in the future to allow more horses to run ahead of the city's biggest race day of the year.
With $61,000 on offer to the winner of Saturday's race it could be the difference between cementing a spot in the Classic, losing it or coming from nowhere to seal a place in the field.
Ben Currie's Mishani Spirit ($56,850) is currently 16th on the ballot order but is unlikely to race along with Michael Moroney's Hawker Hurricane (112,200).