Women lead way in Ipswich
A FEW prominent females were in the headlines at Ipswich last Friday.
Former dual Ipswich Premier Apprentice Tegan Harrison collected her second win of the new season aboard the Mario Caltabiano trained Scoutabout in the third race.
After a close-up second at Ipswich last time, the Gold Coast-based Scoutabout collected his first Ipswich win despite three placings from five previous visits to the track.
Scoutabout gave course caller David Fowler his third straight winning tip. However it was all downhill after that for the popular caller who was unable to find another winner.
Apprentice Stephanie Lacy also collected her second season win aboard Cape Denison. This win moved Lacy to the head of the Apprentice's Premiership for the current season.
Cape Denison is trained by John Symons and Sheila Laxon at the Sunshine Coast.
The horse had previously been unplaced at two Ipswich starts.
Co-trainer Sheila Laxon is well known as being the first female to train a Melbourne Cup winner as she did with Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup winner Ethereal in 2001.
Gai Waterhouse was able to win each of those races with Descarado in 2010 and Fiorente in the 2013 Melbourne Cup. However Sheila Laxon was first.
Having made her way from New Zealand to the Sunshine Coast, the first female trainer to win a Melbourne Cup was winning at Ipswich last week.
Jeff Lloyd collected a winning double on Friday aboard Star Echo and Giftoflife while Michael Cahill moved level with Robbie Fradd on three wins after saluting aboard the Mechanic.
Valuable insights in NZ
A VISIT to the Australian Racetrack Manager's Conference in Auckland last week gave significant insights in highlighting similarities between the Ipswich course and tracks of that region in the Auckland Race Club at Ellerslie and Counties Racing Club at Pukekohe.
Ellerslie is the primary racetrack in New Zealand and conducts jumps and flat races.
Pukekohe has a V8 Supercars racetrack around the horse racing track. This allows grandstand viewing for both sets of patrons and provides additional revenue for the race club.
As with Ipswich, the subsurface in New Zealand is a heavy clay material. However each of the NZ tracks have an orange to dark volcanic subsurface which is different to the Ipswich white clay material.
All three tracks suffer from a lack of drainage as shown by the soft 7 rating at Ipswich on Friday after 16mm of rain on Thursday.
The heavy 11 rating at Ellerslie on Saturday was despite three brilliant days of sunshine leading up to the meeting.
A major difference between Ipswich and the Auckland tracks is that there is much less top soil on the Ipswich track than the Auckland tracks following the Racing Queensland works at Ipswich in 2014.
The top soil on the New Zealand tracks is quite thick and heavy with minimal drainage, although it is loose enough to allow root penetration unlike the Ipswich surface.
Discussions with track specialists from each of the Auckland clubs provided valuable insights into treatment of the specific issues at Ipswich.
One theme of the conference was an aim to become much more technical with tracks, electronically documenting as much data as possible.
This was highlighted by speakers Professor Mick Peterson of the USA on track surfaces and related equine injuries, and Sam Tankard from Moonee Valley on scientific ryegrass trials.
Group one carnival
THE first of the Group 1 Spring Racing Carnivals is contested on Saturday as the Memsie Stakes will be decided at Caulfield. The strong Memsie field includes previous Group 1 winners Vega Magic, Le Romain, Black Heart Bart, Hey Doc, and Yankee Rose at the top of the betting.
There is then a two-week break prior to the Makybe Diva in Melbourne and the George Main in Sydney.
The last Group 1 race is at the end of the Flemington four-day carnival in early November.
Ipswich racing continues on Wednesday to complete the August program. In September, there are two Wednesdays (6th and 27th), a Friday (15th) and the major metropolitan Saturday meeting on Septem ber 23.