Jockey James Innes Jnr celebrates his victory aboard Nettoyer in the Star Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick Racecourse. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Jockey James Innes Jnr celebrates his victory aboard Nettoyer in the Star Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick Racecourse. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Surge in interest as Ipswich racing returns


DESPITE being in troubled times and alongside cancellations of most mainstream sports during the coronavirus crisis, racing is apparently regaining some of its lost popularity of recent decades.

This is one conclusion to make after reviewing the recent racing wagering turnover increase on one of the world’s oldest sports, despite banning of patrons from the race meetings.

After societal changes of recent decades led to a swing in popularity to other sports, interest in racing in recent weeks has reversed that trend with little other alternative available from the punting perspective.

In the midst of societal and economic doldrums at least the 40,000 Queensland racing jobs and $1.5 billion economic benefit to the state largely remain in place.

As the third largest industry in the state, the continuity of racing is vital in economic terms.

It is just as important to do all possible to meet the isolation and distancing requirements in the current world. Queensland racing administrators have done everything possible to ensure these standards are met while racing continues.

The introduction of zones in Queensland racing has helped to give every chance for that continuation.

Racing integrity officers are serious about upholding the current rules of racing having last week suspended apprentice jockey Zoe White for six months for defying an order in relation to the new zoning rules.

In an ever-changing scenario, Racing Queensland also announced last week tightened restrictions on media attending current race meetings without patrons.

Only Sky Racing, an official on-course photographer and RQ appointed pool photographer are approved. Accredited journalists and camera operators are no longer permitted.

RQ’s vital assistance

IN recognition of the difficulties faced by race clubs without patrons doing all to continue racing, the Control Body Racing Queensland is working on funding packages to assist cash flows of the struggling clubs.

A release last week detailed the first steps of the assistance being provided to keep cashless clubs afloat during these extraordinary times.

Ipswich Turf Club is included in this category as a major TAB club in the state as racing nears recommencement at Bundamba.

Ipswich back on track

AFTER a break of almost half a year, Ipswich racing returns on Easter Monday (April 13) barring any further effects of the coronavirus.

It will be a very different race meeting to the last held at the historic course as no patrons will be allowed on course and only those required for the conduct of the meeting may present.

The policies set up by other clubs in recent times will be followed by the ITC. These include temperature checks for all approved for attendance at the meeting, strict isolation and distancing measures, along with cleaning and sterilising processes, all to protect racing.

Elite racing without crowds

GROUP one racing continued on Saturday as the industry comes to grips with the eerie silence of a patron-less Randwick Racecourse.

Despite significant reductions in prizemoney, the big Group 1 races were hotly contested.

The AJC Derby went to Quick Thinker, the TJ Smith sprint to the dominant favourite Nature Strip and the time-honoured Doncaster Handicap to outsider Nettoyer at $41.