Talking Points with Chris Scholtz

Chris Scholtz looks at events and issues and making the racing news.


Doomben has carried the load for Brisbane racing admirably while the Eagle Farm track fiasco drags on, but the heavy workload is now clearly taking a toll on the course proper.

The inside section of the track has become a fast lane and few horses have been able to win from off the pace at recent meetings.

Jockeys have complained that any horse racing deep or further back than three lengths of the lead is at a disadvantage.

Take these comments from the veterans Jeff Lloyd and Robbie Fradd as examples of what the riders think of the current Doomben conditions:-

Lloyd: “It’s taken a pounding and you can’t expect it to be racing any better than it is.”

Fradd: “If you’re further than two off the fence your wheels just spin and it’s very hard to make ground.”

Picture: Racing and Sports

Heavy surfaces after recent rain has compounded the problem, raising concerns about how the track will play by the time we get to the big carnival meetings in May and June when Brisbane can be vulnerable to wet weather.

With all the mismanagement of Brisbane racing over the last two years it’s not too late for Racing Queensland to redeem some credibility by transferring all Doomben meeting scheduled for the next month to other venues to give the course a breather before we get to the carnival.

It’s the least they can do to ensure Doomben is in the best possible condition for the races that really count. If Doomben goes to pieces over the carnival those in charge will cop a barrage to rival the current storm surrounding Australian cricket.

To its credit the Brisbane Racing Club applied to Racing Queensland to transfer Saturday’s fixture but the available options of racing at Ipswich or the Sunshine Coast were said to be “impractical”.


The Rosehill track was also less than satisfactory on Saturday for the final day of the Golden Slipper Festival.

While Rosehill was rated a Good 4 with the rail moved out another two metres for the third time on successive Saturdays, it was obvious no horses could win staying close to the inside rail over the last 400m.

I hesitate to call it unfair racing but the advantage of drawing an inside gate was negated by the conditions. All riders of horses drawn close were mindful of the pattern and attempted to navigate away from the fence when the opportunity allowed.

Those that couldn’t paid the penalty.

And I’m sure I am not alone in feeling that Saturday’s Tancred Stakes meeting – placed as it is between the Golden Slipper and Derby/Doncaster day at Randwick - was an anti-climax a week after the massive build-up to the Slipper.

Surely the Golden Slipper must return to being the pinnacle of the three days of carnival racing at Rosehill.

My suggestion is to bring the Golden Slipper and Tancred Stakes back together as the features on the last day of the Rosehill treble and push the ATC Sires Produce Stakes back to the second day of the Championships at Randwick - problem solved!

A seven day back up from the Sires Produce (1400m) to the Champagne Stakes (1600m) for any youngsters taking that route - and they are scarce in recent times - is no great inconvenience and better than the current program of running two 1600m 2YO events in seven days.

It would also allow for four of the traditional Slipper lead-ups (Todman, Reisling, Pago Pago, Magic Night) to return to being run at Rosehill on the two Saturdays before the big race – a program that is preferred by the entrants.

Racing NSW and the ATC have played around with the autumn programs so many times in recent years that another rejig of the schedule shouldn’t upset anybody.
Racing and Sports

Chris Scholtz

Managing Director Tronta Media P/L; Contributing Editor Racing & Sports
Chris is an award winning racing media professional working in the print, radio and online mediums since 1971 and managing director of his own racing industry media company since 1988. He has covered all of Australia’s major racing carnivals, numerous international events and is widely recognised as a leading form assessor and race analyst. Chris brings his passion for racing to as its contributing editor since its launch in 2000.