Track still unfit to race, upcoming meeting switched to Albany

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Mt Barker Turf Club have lost a second meeting in the space of a week after ongoing track problems forced Racing and Wagering WA to strip the club of their scheduled meeting this Thursday.

Last Thursday stewards called off the races at MBTC after one race with a section of the track in the home straight over the final 100m became waterlogged, which caused significant shifting of several horses and was deemed unsafe.

The meeting was officially postponed and nominations for a nine-race program on Thursday in Mt Barker were released with the hope the track would recover in time for this week.

However, after a track inspection yesterday morning at the Frost Park venue, the troublesome area — which was the cause of the Mt Barker Cup meeting being abandoned last season — was still not satisfactory, forcing RWWA’s hand.

RWWA thoroughbred racing manager Tim Beaver said the decision was made to avoid the risk of a second meeting being washed out.

“After Mt Barker’s track was deemed unsafe last week, as a contingency plan we contacted Albany in case it didn’t come up and asked them to be ready to race on Thursday,” he said.

“An inspection was done (yesterday) and it was still too risky to run.

“We don’t like having to do this to a club but it is a precautionary measure because we’ve already lost one meeting.

“The guys didn’t think it had improved enough and rather than take the risk we want to take the risk out of it.”

Beaver said they would provide whatever support is necessary to MBTC in helping them get the track back to a fit state before their final meeting of the season on March 18 which features the Mt Barker Cup. MBTC president Stephen Carter said the club understood the decision made by RWWA.

“Obviously as a club we are disappointed,” he said.

“We have put in a request to swap a date with Albany later on.

“The situation is that most of the track has dried out but one patch hasn’t dried out enough.

“It may have been OK by Thursday or it may not have been.

“We are still investigating the case of the water issue and trying to find out what’s happened.”

Carter said he was confident the club would have the track issues rectified before their last meeting of the season.

Spangled Image won the opening race last Thursday for trainer Martin Allan and jockey Peter Knuckey, before news broke of the meeting being called off, leaving participants furious.

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