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More twilight meetings likely for Doomben

doomben racecourse
Racing Queensland will schedule more midweek races at Doomben on Thursdays.

Racing Queensland will program more Thursday twilight meetings next season after the initial test period was frustrated by rain and mishaps.

RQ programmed five twilight meetings at Doomben with the Wednesday meetings being shared by northern clubs, Kilcoy and the Gold Coast.

Two of the Doomben meetings were washed out while another two were disrupted.

One the meetings was delayed by a problem with an axle on the barrier stalls and another was put back an hour after a fall.

One of the Wednesday meetings, at Kilcoy, was abandoned at the halfway mark when the track was rated unsuitable because of rain.

RQ’s chief ewxecutive Brendan Parnell said it was unfortunate the trial had been dogged by bad luck.

“However, the initial figures indicate it was well worth while with the combined Wednesday and Thursday figures up,” Parnell said.

“Figures presented for the first four weeks (until the end of Jan) given recent abandonments are encouraging.

“For the January 20 period Thursday metro turnover/race was up 11 per cent year on year when compared to the corresponding Wednesday metros.

“Wednesday Provincial turnover is up 10 per cent when compared to corresponding Thursday provincials and combining the two days together turnover is up 10 per cent.

“We are also keen to see how our international betting figures have gone with Doomben being the prime meeting on Thursdays. Those figures are available at the end of March.

“Also if we program more meetings next season we will have Ipswich back racing and it is an established Wednesday venue.”

The secretary of the Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers Association, Cameron Partington agreed it was better to test Thursday twilights when Ipswich was back racing after a reconstruction.

“We aren’t against Thursday twilights at Doomben but then again we aren’t for them. We would like to see firm proof that it is worthwhile in terms of turnover and crowds,” he said.

“You can’t blame them for the weather or for the unusual incidents that delayed meetings. But it was strange to go ahead with a trial while Ipswich was out of play.

“We have been racing at Ipswich on Wednesdays for years. It would have given us a far better idea of how punters accepted the change.”

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