Possibly QLD’s last Oaks as we know it?

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This is a media release that was on the Racing Queensland website that I thought followers might find interesting.

It is about changing or re-inventing the QLD oaks as we know it. Have a read and then I will give some thoughts.

Discussion Paper Released on Future of Queensland Oaks

Friday, 27 May 2011 4:33 PM

Racing Queensland (RQL) and Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) have today released a joint discussion paper to assist in a review of the conditions for the Queensland Oaks.

RQL and BRC have discussed the benefit of extending the age conditions of the Queensland Oaks to enable mares to compete and both organisations are keen to seek external views in relation to this issue.

There should be no presumption that this issue is a fait accompli, the discussion paper has been developed to enable RQL and BRC to assess the views of key industry groups and stakeholders.

RQL Director of Product Development Mr Paul Brennan said he appreciates that this issue has the potential to invoke some meaningful discussion and does not expect that all sections of the industry will be in support of this concept.

“We are however seeking constructive feedback to canvass all possible ideas,” said Mr Brennan.

There are some key issues that RQL and BRC are grappling with in assessing the benefits of this proposal. Relevant groups are asked to please consider the issues outlined below before providing feedback:

  • With five Group 1 three year old fillies races of 2,000 metres and above, is it appropriate that the longest Group 1 race eligible to mares is only 1600 metes.
  • Is the Queensland Oaks suitably positioned to provide an opportunity for mares to acquire Group One status in a race of 2000 metres and above, and would this be an enhancement to the Australian Pattern?
  • If it is considered that the Qld Oaks should remain in its current three year old – 2400m format, how can its rating be improved?

“The Queensland racing industry has a track record of delivering a completely structured platform of feature races that provide maximum opportunity and enable natural progression,” said Mr Brennan.

“We understand this option is a step away from the traditional Oaks, but it is important that all avenues are investigated so as to provide opportunity for all types of horses to acquire black type.”

BRC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Stephen Ferguson said BRC is keen to seek industry views on this issue.

“The aim is always to provide a racing schedule to best suit available horse populations. When reviewing the points raised in the discussion paper it is clear that there are issues with the sustainability of three-year-old Group 1 staying events,” Mr Ferguson said.

“We look forward to assessing industry feedback with a view to assisting in the delivery of concepts for the consideration of RQL, BRC and the Australian Pattern Committee to address these issues.”

The full discussion paper is available on both the RQL and BRC websites and interested parties are requested to provide feedback by close of business, Monday June 13, 2011.

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****I have to admit when I first heard about the idea of changing the Oaks I was disappointed at the chance of changing such a historic race and a race a lot of Queenslanders love.  However after giving some thought I feel Paul Brennan and Stephen Ferguson deserve a lot of credit for thinking of ways to improve the carnival, and opening it up for discussion.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to the whole proposal, I just think we have to open up our minds a little and see what we can do to get the absolute best horse here for our carnival.

There has been talk of dropping the Oaks and bringing the Guineas to group1 status, which I agreed with for a while, but sitting down and reading through the press release, I think there is a way to just have a minor tweaking of the program that would enhance the feature race of the day (The Oaks).

At the moment the main lead up (black type) races for the fillies are the Gold Coast Bracelet (Listed), and the Doomben Roses 2020m Group3. This is a nice set up giving the fillies a chance to enhance their value. If we then had a fillies and mares Group 1 race over 2000m or 2200m at Eagle Farm as the Oaks (you would have to re-name it) you would not only get the fillies that are here for the lead ups and the big Group 1, but I assure you that we would get some of the best staying mares here as well as it would be their best chance for a Group 1 race against their own sex at a staying trip. It would work terrific. The older mares can then go to the paddock and still be able to spell and get back in time for the major spring features, and the fillies can stick around and still have a crack at the Derby a week later if the connections feel they want to run against the boys and get a 2kg advantage. It has been proven that a nice filly is more than capable of rolling the boys in the Derby 2400m.

The race would have the potential to become far superior race than it currently is, bringing in the top shelf staying mares as the lure of a Group 1 for a mare’s value would be very tempting for owners and trainers. To be the first state to introduce a race like this would give us the potential to get top shelf staying horses to the carnival to go along with the first class sprinters we get every year. Trying not to take anything away from the stayers at our carnival over the last couple of years, they have been well below the standard of other group races around the country, and I really feel that taking this step would be a step in the right direction as the mares would be racing in the WFA races as their lead up. It also is only a minor change to the scheduling compared to changing group 2’s up to group 1’s, and group 2’s to group 3’s and so on. It also means you don’t have to change race dates and moving them back and forward etc.

This is just the view I have at the moment and what I feel would be the most effective way, but as I said there will be many different opinions on it. If you have a strong opinion of it or you think you have a good idea feel free to let me know? Or you might feel it should be left alone?

But once again it is good to see that the people in charge are not afraid of improving our racing product, and for that they deserve some credit!

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***Also for the punters the horses i will be having something on in brissy midweek racing tomorrow are:

(Remember this is before scratchings)

Race 5 no.3 SHAMARDASHING e/w at $6.50


Race 6 no.2 HAVATRYST (big drop in grade) $3.60


Race 7 – Quinella  1-ANYWAYS, 11-ZIPPY LOU, 13-REILLY BLUE