Darwin Turf Club management in consultation with Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory officials, have reviewed the circumstances that led to the postponement of four races during yesterday’s Lexus of Darwin Melbourne Cup Race Day.
A heavy downpour prior to the second race resulted in excess moisture penetrating the racing surface, creating visibility and traction issues. With a view to continuing with the scheduled racing, the Darwin Turf Club management and Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory Stewards explored various options to address those issues but it was deemed that there was insufficient time to carry out the remedial work necessary and in the interest of safety a decision was made by Jockeys and Stewards to postpone racing for the day.
On Sunday 30th October 2016, Darwin Turf Club Management inspected the track following feedback from a number of Industry participants in relation to the firmness of the track. Upon inspection, management formed the opinion that some improvement could be made to the surface and the decision was made to give the track a very light rotavation, which is not standard procedure at this time of year.
This action had the desired effect of softening the track surface but left the track more exposed to the weather than usual. As a result of the downpour, surface water was allowed to penetrate the track, which ultimately created the issues that were experienced. In hindsight, Darwin Turn Club Management acknowledges that rotavating the track so close to the race day was the wrong course of action.
“The Darwin Turf Club board and management fully supports the decision made by the stewards on the day, as safety is always paramount” said Darwin Turf Club Chairman Brett Dixon.
“Whilst on rare occasions race meetings have been lost over the years due to inclement weather, the club is very proud of its excellent record of racing in one of Australia’s harshest climates” Mr. Dixon added.
“Unfortunately on this occasion, we got it wrong and we apologise to the industry, sponsors, and the general public for the inconvenience caused.”
The four postponed races including the day’s feature race, the Lexus of Darwin Weight-For-Age, will be run on Saturday 5th of November from 2.39pm and will coincide with Emirates Stakes Day racing at Flemington. The Darwin Turf Club will be offering free entry to the Fannie Bay Races.
For further comment and interview opportunities please contact Kelly Harding, Marketing and Sponsorship assistant 0481 270 884