Click below to see David Brehaut's video report of the clockwise trials at Dowling Forest.
COX Plate winning jockey Steve Arnold has given Dowling Forest Racecourse his stamp of approval as the venue for a clockwise-run feature event in spring this year.
Arnold rode in two trials under full race conditions the Sydney way of going on the track yesterday.
The trials tested the camber of what will be the hometurn for a proposed $200,000 Magic Millions feature for two-year-olds over 1000 metres on Ballarat Cup Day on Sunday, November 25, and a temporary section of turf.
Each aspect received a tick of approval from Arnold and fellow jockeys in the eight-horse trials.
The turf was installed on Thursday to replace a sand crossing on the inner track. The crossing is not considered an issue for standard anti-clockwise racing as it is positioned on the turn out of the home straight.
For the one-off clockwise, it will be on the home turn.
Arnold said there were no issues with the newly laid turf or camber.
He said a feature of racing in that direction was an incline around the turn into the home straight.
Former champion jockey and now trainer Patrick Payne, Dean Yendall, Jack Hill, Christine Puls, Jacob Rule, Dean Larsson and Fabian Alesci also rode in the trials.
Ballarat Turf Club chief executive officer Lachlan McKenzie said all jockeys had been glowing in their praise for the camber and new turf section.
“Not one horse shifted or deviated,” he said.
He said importantly the trials were also run in good time. McKenzie said getting experienced jockeys, and having some horses from outside the Ballarat training complex not too familiar with the circuit, had been an important aspect of the trials.
Terry O’Sullivan, Jim Mason, Patrick Payne, Darren Weir, Dan O’Sullivan, John Sadler and Robert Smerdon saddled up horses.
With this phase completed in getting the clockwise race to Ballarat, McKenzie said Racing Victoria had already informed the BTC that it now required written formal approval from RVL stewards, Victorian Jockeys’ Association and the RVL track management department.
RVL steward Corey Waller oversaw the trials, while RVL tracks and facilities manager Charlie Stebbing were in attendance. McKenzie said he could not see any reason why approval would not be given. He said the club expected the RVL board to provide a reply next month.
McKenzie said there was growing support for the race from training ranks. “It’s been really encouraging.”
The temporary turf was removed after yesterday’s trials and will be nurtured by Avenal-based StrathAyr until being put down again in the week before the Ballarat Cup.