Test gallops on track revealed grass gaps, Racing NSW says

ABOVE: Jockeys at Casino Racing Club in 2021. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Racing NSW Country executive officer Brian Charman has explained why the Casino race track was deemed not suitable for this Friday’s Beef Week Cup.

Here is his response:

“The Casino Race Club has undertaken renovations and upgrades to the course proper during the summer period that will result in an improved camber and overall racing surface at the venue. These renovations included returfing and other remedial works to the course proper and the introduction of a strategic fertiliser program to support growth and every opportunity to race.

“The Casino Beef Week Cup is a significant event on the country racing calendar and it is understandably disappointing for the club and the hardworking committee and importantly the local and surrounding community of the Richmond Valley who had been planning to attend the meeting.

“Following the transferred race meeting from Casino in April 2023, Racing NSW provided the club the opportunity to have the track prepared for the Casino Beef Week Cup meeting. The Racing NSW stewards inspected the Casino racetrack on Thursday, May 18 after the Northern Rivers region had received significant rainfall early that week.

“Following the renovation to the course proper, it was necessary to conduct gallops on the racing surface to determine if it was suitable to conduct a race meeting. As a result of the significant rainfall early that week the track gallops were transferred from the Thursday to Saturday, May 20.

“The Racing NSW stewards inspected the course proper after the track gallops and determined the racing surface had not fully recovered following the renovation works to conduct a race meeting. Although there had been some improvement since April, the grass cover on sections of the track was inconsistent and it was identified that the grass root system had not developed satisfactorily and as a result sections of the track where heavily impacted during the gallops with Stewards citing the stability of horses footing as a concern.

“Essentially, the track had not had sufficient time to recover from the track renovations earlier in the year, and as a result did not have a full cover of grass or a sufficient deep root system that would handle the eight race program. Further, the stewards identified a section of the track between the 1300m and 1400m unsuitable for racing.

“With less than seven days to the race meeting, it was determined there was insufficient time for the track to improve to a condition that was suitable for racing. On that basis the meeting was transferred to the Lismore Turf Club to ensure the racing industry maintained the opportunity to race and participate in the distribution of prizemoney.

“The Casino Race Club is scheduled to conduct the Casino Cup meeting in August 2023 and Racing NSW will work with the Casino Race Club to support the preparation of the track for this meeting.”

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