Jockeys and trainers may not have been thrilled with their feedback on the Eagle Farm track, but at least they raced better.
Eagle Farm is officially back and seems to be running infinitely better than before its 10-week renovation, but the multi-million dollar question remains: how long?
While comments from jockeys and trainers weren’t glowing on the usually firm surface on Saturday, it wasn’t bad either, which officials will see as a win for now.
Racing in Queensland needs a thriving Eagle Farm and Saturday was perhaps the first step towards building faith in the former leading lady.
Crucially, the winners of the day came from all over the track, even with the tendency to push the fence back down the straight.
Eagle Farm will now take on a heavier workload to give Doomben a break before the Winter Carnival and Brisbane Racing Club will be active with the rail to protect the best ground for the start of Group 1 racing.
Under bizarre circumstances, Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland are experimenting with two different ideologies on the track and there will come a time after the winter carnival when things will shake up.
Racing Queensland has a test plot in the backstretch that saw the existing couch and rye stripped from the sand-based profile, and a new kikuyu laid down.
The BRC planted strands of kikuyu all over the track in hopes it would settle in and provide a more cushioned surface.
Importantly, the improved grass cover appears to have allowed more horses to drop off as they normally would, with more horses arriving than before where it was not uncommon to see them pass the winning post like Brown’s cows.
Eventually the industry will have to decide which option is better – and there’s a chance it’s neither, with many trainers and jockeys saying the sand-based profile is the root of All the problems.
Tegan Harrison’s day began long before the premiere at Eagle Farm on Saturday when she was called to give evidence at Ben Thompson’s hearing after the holy oath was dropped in Ipswich last Wednesday.
But she was on set soon after, sending Cocobrew Express home on the opening run.
It was the popular rider’s first Saturday Metropolitan winner back in the saddle since returning from a broken leg that kept her out of action for 10 months.
Although she has won a metropolitan race transferred to the Sunshine Coast since her return, Harrison said landing one at Eagle Farm on a Saturday meant a little more.
“It means a lot to come back here and have a winner, it’s so good to be back,” she said.
LLOYD TAKES A BLOW
Jockey Jaden Lloyd managed to strengthen his grip on the coveted title of Premier of Apprentices, dropping three winners to that of key rival Kyle Wilson-Taylor at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The hat-trick took Lloyd to 38 Metropolitan wins for the season, while Wilson-Taylor’s demolition work on Gypsy Goddess took him to 33.5
Originally published as Positive Signs with Eagle Farm Trail Improvement