Gold Coast Millions at risk
STEWARDS have declared the Gold Coast track currently unsafe for racing, putting the $4.3 million Magic Millions carnival scheduled Saturday in grave doubt.
Racing Queensland steward Daniel Aurich walked the rain-soaked track following yesterday’s feature race barrier draws.
Magic Millions Classic favourite Karuta Queen drew awkwardly in barrier 10 for the $2 million 1200-metre two-year-old feature while second elect Pepper Jet drew gate four.
Aurich said two sections of the track posed serious concerns for the meeting to proceed.
“At the moment the section from the winning post to the 400 metres is unsafe for racing,” Aurich said.
“But if it stays fine as it is today then the track should improve considerably.
“There’s another section from the 800 metres to the 1600 metres which is also unsafe for racing.”
Aurich feared the meeting could drop away if horses stranded by floodwaters can’t make it to the Gold Coast.
“The roads are cut at Warwick and Grafton,” he said.
“There’s a few Sydney horses stranded at Grafton because of floods and it doesn’t look like they’ll get here.”
Course manager Steve Andrews remained optimistic the meeting will proceed on Saturday although contingency plans are in place to hold it on Sunday if necessary.
Aurich said the track could recover to allow the meeting to go ahead provided no further rain fell.
“It’s in the lap of the gods,” he said.
“If the current fine weather stays with us the meeting could go ahead but any rain will put the meeting in serious jeopardy.
“Even if we do race and there’s fine weather through to Saturday the track will be heavy.”
Stewards will make a further track inspection every day to race day and will make an early decision if the rain returns.
“We’ll inspect the track again tomorrow and on Friday and if it stays fine we probably won’t make a final decision whether the meeting goes ahead until Saturday morning,” Aurich said.
“However, if we get any rain we may be in a position to make a decision earlier and then go to Plan B.”