Incredibly, Ipswich has held a meeting on 36 of the past 37 days due to Albion Park being closed for reconstruction of the track surface. Albion Park resumed racing this afternoon.
Track Manager Merv Page was understandably relieved to see the end of what has been a hectic five week period.
“We are hoping it might be enough to get us into the Guinness Book of Records”, Page joked.
“Getting over the first week was the toughest part. The first week everybody got very tired but after that I guess adrenaline kicked in. Once we got to half way it was just a countdown from then.”
“We all got a little bit tired towards the end and so did the fields. The last three days it was pretty hard to get full field, but that was to be expected. People would have been looking forward to going back to Albion Park and they wouldn’t have nominated in anticipation.”
Page said the Club was committed to running the extra meetings at Ipswich to ensure racing and prize money was not lost interstate.
“We have only got Albion Park and Ipswich in the south east of Queensland and if we didn’t hold the meetings the other clubs in Queensland would have struggled so Sky Channel would have given the meetings to other tracks.
“That way our owners and trainers got every meeting that they were supposed to as well.”
Page, who has been manager of the track for the past three years, said that everything went as smoothly as can be expected over the past month.
“The only problem we had in all those meetings was one false start where the boxes opened before the lure got there. Other than that nothing went wrong and the track stood up amazingly well.
To add to the chaos, the Club’s flagship event, the Group Three Ipswich Cup, was conducted last Saturday night.
“We had to have the two big meetings in amongst it all whereas it would have been a lot easier if they were on at a different time. The Ipswich Cup was held on the last Saturday of the five weeks so that was a bit daunting.”
The Cup was taken out by Reg Kay’s excitement machine Happy Haswell. The son of Surf Lorian and Teenage Dream was leading by around 12 lengths turning from home but lost at least few lengths when baulking at Farmer’s Gold, who had fallen on the first turn and proceeded to run back towards the field, in the home straight.
Happy Haswell still managed to clock a race record time of 30.23. Page believes he would have gone close to Queen Lauryn’s 30.01 track record if the incident hadn’t occurred.
“I think it cost him the record. Doesn’t that say something that after five weeks of straight racing at the track that you could go close to breaking the track record? It really shows how well the track stood up.”
Page would also like to thank his staff who all played a big part in ensuring everything went to plan.
“The staff have been very good, on the overall I can’t really single out anyone because everybody deserves credit for it.
“We are very happy with how it all went, we had a big party last night!”