The much-maligned Eagle Farm showed it was headed to again being a top-class racetrack when records were broken by Frequendly and Balboa Rocks.
Eagle Farm’s surface has been widely criticised since it re-opened in June but it has gradually improved with each meeting.
Chairman Neville Bell said he had always been confident Eagle Farm would prove to be a top racetrack again.
“Don’t forget we have had a lot of wet meetings but things are starting to come together and it will just get better as the growing season goes on,” he said.
Trainer Les Ross’s decision to take blinkers off Frequendly on Saturday paid dividends when she broke the course record in winning the Berlie Bra Plate (1000m).
“It was the first time she had raced without the blinkers and she seemed to respond when challenged in the straight,” Ross said after Frequendly clocked 57.66 secs, lopping 0.29 secs off the record.
Improving three-year-old Balboa Rocks also broke a course record when he won the Breast Cancer Handicap (1400m) in 1 minute 23.58 seconds.
It was 0.14 secs better than the time recorded by Under The Louvre in winning the Group One Stradbroke Handicap in June.
Trainer Darrell Hansen said he thought Balboa Rocks would be a winter carnival horse and might get out to distance racing.
“I was a bit worried about him coming back from 1600 metres last start but Jeff (jockey Lloyd) thought he would handle that on the bigger track,” Hansen said.
Punta Norte ($5) went within a breath of breaking the 1400m record when he scored an overdue win.
“He has been most consistent and deserved that win. We will keep him in Brisbane as I don’t think he is up to feature races just yet,” trainer Robert Heathcote said.
“Eagle Farm is really starting to race well. I am looking forward to the next few months.”
Caloundra-based apprentice Tiffani Brooker was repaid for travelling to Eagle Farm to ride track work when she gave Heathcote a double aboard Saluter ($3.20).
“Saluter hadn’t won for a while but Tiff was able to dictate things in front – she deserves plenty of credit,” Heathcote said.