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RQ rejects call to close Ipswich course

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RQ CEO Brendan Parnell says there are no plans to close Ipswich despite the loss of another meeting.

Racing Queensland has rejected a plea to shut Ipswich racecourse for repairs and will instead step up remedial work.

Trainers say they are sick of officials playing Russian Roulette with race meetings at Ipswich.

For the fourth time since September, Friday’s Ipswich meeting was abandoned after little or no rain.

Ipswich had 14mm on Thursday night but an early morning inspection found sections of the track were not suitable for racing.

The Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers Association secretary Cameron Partington said Racing Queensland really had no choice but to close Ipswich down for repairs.

“There is only one way to describe it and that is Russian Roulette,” Partington said.

“The situation is no longer acceptable. There is another meeting scheduled for next Wednesday and we feel RQ has three choices.”

“They can transfer the meeting to Doomben or Toowoomba or stick with Ipswich and take the consequences.”

“Your are talking about the lives of the industry participants.”

Partington said RQ should have been alerted when the previous meeting was called off.

“They ran it two days later and dodged a bullet. But that should have been a warning and it was again Russian Roulette. They won that time and lost this time.”

The Ipswich Turf Club says the problem is with its irrigation system which needs upgrading.

Racing Queensland said it would request further remediation to the Ipswich track.

Ipswich is scheduled to race again on Wednesday and immediate plugging to the bare areas with healthy turf will be carried out.

Critical repair work of the collector drain to the inside of the course proper will also be conducted.

A 16-day break is scheduled following Wednesday’s meeting.

“We know the industry is frustrated with what is conspiring at Ipswich and we know action is required,” RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell said.

“The outage of Eagle Farm has contributed to the strain placed on our other tracks in south-east Queensland and Ipswich is a by-product of that closure.

“Ideally, a full renovation is required at Ipswich, however, this is neither planned nor budgeted.

“Moving forward, we will mandate course renovation closures for our TAB clubs and a January window has been identified for Ipswich in 2020.”

A further track inspection will be conducted on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled meeting.

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