Cup Day racing surface under fire: Ballarat Turf Club attacks bias claims

BALLARAT Turf Club has defended its preparation of the racing surface for the Ballarat Cup meeting on Sunday.

BTC chief executive Lachlan McKenzie labelled criticism as over the top.

“It’’s been blown out of proportion.”

He yesterday expressed his disappointment with aspects of the verbal attack on what had been described as track bias.

Critics are alleging that horses in front or close to the pace were favoured by firmer ground close to the rail. McKenzie is especially concerned with the knee-jerk nature of the reaction.

Champion trainer Lee Freedman joined form analysts and racing media among the critics.

Freedman was among the first to voice his disapproval, via Twitter on Sunday: “Ballarat a shocker of a biased track. Back to the bad old days protecting the inside in lead up meets.” 

Radio broadcaster Shane Anderson was also to the fore, initially on Twitter: “Ballarat a disgrace. Dead5 to start? Stop watering tracks after a good is achieved. Horses that like wet can race in winter.”

He then continued on with the issue on Radio Sport National yesterday, attracting more support.

The BTC did get high profile support for its presentation of the track, with cup-winning jockey Brad Rawiller praising its condition on race day and prominent trainer Terry O’Sullivan, who has cup third placegetter Exceptionally, more than happy.

McKenzie said he had spoken to Racing Victoria on the issue.

“They’ll get all the facts relating to tempo and time splits and make a full analysis of the racing.

“There are a lot of issues which we need to go through,” he told The Courier. “Let’s get some statistics first and look at what has transpired.

“If changes are needed we’ll make them.”

McKenzie said with regard to irrigation, there was no possibility some sections of the track had received more water than others.

“We have state-of-the-art watering system. It’s 30 metres wide and we measure irrigation to the millimetre.

“There’s no possibility the inside received less water than anywhere else,” he said.

david.brehaut@thecourier.com.au

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