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Cushion Tracks - Qld Gallops - Racehorse TALK

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Offline dubbledee

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O.P. « 2008-Dec-29, 03:08 PM »
The first Cushion racetrack in Australia has been installed at Sunshine Coast alongside the standard grass track.  From day one it's been the subject of controversy.  It's something new and everyone's got an opinion.  Some like it, some couldn't care less, some detest it.

Punters continue to bet on the SC track.  Some trainers turn up there every meeting; others are somewhat apprehensive.

QRL are unabashed supporters of Cushion Track racing, and are working towards at least two more Cushion Track racing circuits.

We'll soon be seeing Cushion Track racing at SC under lights with plans under way to replace the Toowoomba grass track with a Cushion surface in February.

The discussion on the pros and cons of the Cushion will continue for some time yet.
« Last Edit: 2009-Feb-09, 08:32 AM by MagiC~* »

Offline dubbledee

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« 2008-Dec-29, 03:12 PM Reply #1 »
This Friday's SC meeting will be on the Cushion.

Nominations have been extended after just 53 noms were received for the 8 programmed races.  A Maiden and Class 1 had just 3 noms each.

No doubt the extension of noms will bring better-sized fields.

Offline gratlog

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« 2008-Dec-29, 03:19 PM Reply #2 »
No doubt the extension of noms will bring better-sized fields.

Maybe.

BB's tracks aren't proving popular .  No way will he change his mind though.

Offline dubbledee

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« 2008-Dec-30, 08:53 AM Reply #3 »
There are now more than 100 noms for Friday's meeting.

Offline poxdoctor

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« 2008-Dec-30, 11:50 AM Reply #4 »
I'm still undecided on the merits or otherwise of the Cushion/Thorough track. We have one here in Victoria and will soon have another at Cranbourne.

I can see merit in the idea, but time will determine their success or failure. We had many meetings transferred to Geelong last winter, which may not have been able to be held otherwise, although if you race a genuine wet track horse that may be of little comfort to you.

I am involved in a dry track mare who had a win and and a second from 3 starts on the thorough track last winter, which was a real bonus for us at that time of year. She then bled and while there may be no correlation, some research suggests that bleeding in horses can be impact related.

They're worth having a look at, but surely should be evaluated after a decent period of time, rather than rushing in and tearing up other tracks before their merit or otherwise is fully known.
« Last Edit: 2008-Dec-30, 03:34 PM by poxdoctor »

Offline dubbledee

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« 2008-Dec-30, 12:26 PM Reply #5 »
Two Toowoomba trainers who have raised strident oppostion to the installation of the Cushion Track as the racing circuit at Clifford Park are Gary Wells and John Dann.  Yesterday they issued this press release:

Frustrated opponents of cushion track have challenged Toowoomba Turf Club chairman Neville Stewart to a public debate over his committee's decision to replace the grassed course proper at Clifford Park with the controversial synthetic product.
 
TTC members John Dann and Gary Wells claim the TTC is stalling their request to inspect the minutes of Committee meetings and relevant correspondence.
 
"A public debate would serve to clarify the whole range of issues involved and  to accurately reflect the true position of every stakeholder," Mr Wells said.
 
Mr Dann and Mr. Wells are also executives of the Downs and South West Trainers and Owners Association which has mounted a vigorous campaign to the decicion which has outraged the local racing community.
 
"The rules of the Club entitle us as members to view the minutes and correspondence which forms part of the minutes and we made a written request to do so. We received an illogical and rambling reply from the Club which amounted to nothing more then semantics on their behalf," MR Wells said.
 
"We are concerned about the bona fides of the alleged vote of members which Mr Stewart said favoured the cushion track course proper by 70% to 30% because an independant survey of TTC members conducted by DSWTOA produced a more emphatic vote against the decision."
 
Both Mr Dann and Mr Wells agree the time may have come for a change of leadership at the TTC.
 
"As we approach 2009 we are calling for more open and transparent leadership, particularly in view of the fact the Mr. Stewart has not faced a committee ballot for at least 15 years," Mr Wells said.
 
Messrs Dann and Wells, as representatives of DSWTOA , have been involved in negotiations with the office of the Racing Minister and with the Member  for Toowoomba North and Attorney General Kerry Shine in their bid to have the TTC decision reversed.
 
"Our investigations have revealed a wide range of discrepencies in the case for the cushion track. There is a huge question mark over the product itself with Santa Anita, California USA replacing cushion track and suing the cushion track company for millions of dollars.
 
"We strongly question its suitability as a racing surface with T.A.B. turnover on cushion track meetings at Corbould Park, Caloundra, significantly below comparative Friday grass track meetings and falling nominations for meetings there already, after only eight months.
 
We have looked at the alleged lack of water issue, water management issues, safety issues and a number of other matters and, quite frankly, the turf club has let its members down. I would love to debate Neville Stewart on all aspects of this matter," Mr Wells said
.

Offline MagiC~*

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« 2008-Dec-30, 12:35 PM Reply #6 »
One thing I would like to know is how the Hell does the majority stake holders not get a say in what happens to their turf Club ?

Surely this has to be revised and some changes made to the decision making of these Clubs

 :what:

Offline ted e turner

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« 2008-Dec-30, 01:48 PM Reply #7 »
neville stewart the "grand" vendor and bob bentley the "not so great rorter"...best to come from these powerful men was to call a group with legend jim atkins a rag tag group of minor trainers......note to nev and bob it seems your days are numbered...16 years with out a vote on ya nev.....maybe you should join qrl pty ltd or maybe you already have....what a joke on stakeholders

Offline Authorized

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« 2008-Dec-30, 02:01 PM Reply #8 »
Is this cushion track the same type as used for this years (2008s) Breeders Cup in the US of A ?

Offline dubbledee

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« 2008-Dec-30, 02:09 PM Reply #9 »
Nope.  The Cushion was ripped up at Santa Anita and replaced by ProRide (an Aussie product).

Offline ted e turner

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« 2008-Dec-30, 02:27 PM Reply #10 »
its ironic that bob the builder has signed a 3 track 18 million dollar contract with a uk company when that same company has had its usa track pulled up and replaced with a aussie product....kickback=bob? never........bentley the man hated by stakeholders and aint we lucky his vote rort was embarrsingly knocked on the head by labors racing destroyer andrew fraser

Offline manikato1

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« 2009-Jan-01, 09:38 PM Reply #11 »
I just noticed that Pro Ride (the OZ product which has now gone down at Santa Anita) will be the surface on the new Gawler track.

Just one question.  If these surface are successful, will we see an end to traditional turf tracks?  If so, will we see a further consolidation of racing at fewer venues, as these surfaces will be able to handle racing better than turf?

Offline MagiC~*

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« 2009-Jan-01, 09:50 PM Reply #12 »
Well I guess he has signed a contract ...... so that means he has to put down 3 Cushion Tracks even if the main stakeholders don't want it.

And is probably why, even though nearly every trainer in Toowoomba rejected the idea are know being forced to race on the surface.

Is there anyway to find out if anybody has gained financially through such an agreement be it legally or illegally ?

The reason I ask is I seen a interview with the Master Bart Cummings where he commented that the only reason anybody would install such a surface is that they must have received a financial kickback ..... has Builder Bob received a kickback ?

Offline Norton

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« 2009-Jan-02, 08:00 AM Reply #13 »
Some strong opposition still:

Subject: MEDIA RELEASE FROM DOWNS & SOUTH WEST TRAINERS AND OWNERS ASS. INC


A picture of Toowoomba as a racing wasteland is emerging as "C.T." day draws closer at Clifford Park.
 
The 150-year-old racecourse, a cornerstone of Queensland racing's heritage, faces obliteration with the onset of the hottest topic in the Sport of Kings, Cushion Track.
 
Queensland Racing Inc. which controls the State racing industry has nominated February 14 as the end of grass track racing in its undisputed thoroughbred breeding capital.
 
Then, heavy equipment will move in to gouge away one of the lushest grass tracks on the continent to make way for one of the most controversial synthetic racing surfaces in the world.
 
Despite the protests of the majority of local stakeholders, the reservations of the bulk of its members and multi-million dollar litigation against the Cushion Track company in the USA, Toowoomba Turf Club has vowed to proceed with what most people see as an act of vandalism.
 
Owners, trainers, breeders and punters are united in their resolve to desert Toowoomba racing if the TTC and QR Inc have their way.
 
Huge racing powerbroker Col Richards, leading Queensland punter and racing student Ferris Jermanus, Hall of Fame trainer Jim (J.J.) Atkins and a swag of trainers, owners and jockeys will either retire, leave racing or seek greener pastures if Cushion Track comes to town as the Clifford Park course proper.
 
The astute Mr Richards is one of the State's most successful land developers, breeders and thoroughbred sales operators and does not mince words when it comes to Cushion Track.
 
"If the T.T.C. goes ahead with its proposal, the future of Gainsborough Lodge Stud as a breeding operation can be considered to be in severe doubt," he said.
 
Mr Richards has owned the showpiece thoroughbred stud on the edge of Toowoomba since the early 1990s and has up to 15 horses in work with local trainers Fred Adams and Tony Sears.
 
"I will never start another horse on a cushion track and if it comes to Toowoomba I will close down my operation here," he said.
 
"There has not been enough investigation into the product and there are huge question marks about the level of maintenance required for cushion tracks, Mr. Richards said.
 
"While some horses might handle the conditions, there is a very concerning number who sustain various injuries or pull up very distressed after racing on it," he said.
 
Mr. Richards company Brisbane Bloodstock conducts one of the State's biggest annual yearling sales and next month Gainsborough Lodge will put 70 youngsters, a seriously significant draft, under the hammer.
 
Brisbane-based Mr Jermanus was at one time the T.A.B's number one account holder betting on Toowoomba twilights and is still a player of considerable strength.
 
He has also been a prominent owner and respected student of racing for nearly half an century and is lobbying Labor Party identities vigorously against the proposal.
 
"I am one of about six off-course punters that I am aware of who love the Toowoomba twilights but who will walk away if this idiotic plan(cushion track) goes ahead.
 
"I've been a punter for more than 40 years but I donn't even know nor care when the Caloundra cushion track meetings are on. You cannot predict a pattern of racing, which horses will handle it or if they will even survive the race. It seems to be a graveyard for horses and punters," Mr Jermanus said.
 
Indeed, allegations of supressed statistics of cushion track casualties, both in races and training, abound under a regime of enforced censorship of licencees who train at Corbould Park.
 
The standard agreement which trainers must sign before being allowed to train at Corbould Park contains a clause silencing any criticism they might have of the track.
 
"That is why you will never hear any trainer from Caloundra going public. But ask most of them on the side and they are scathing of the track," said one of Queensland's most respected trainers (Gold Coast-based).
 
"Soft tissue injuries, other serious foreleg injuries, bleeding, distress and death are becoming common stories out of cushion track," he said.
 
Apart from those based at Corbould Park, very few of the State's top stables patronise the synthetic track on racedays.
 
T.A.B. turnover on cushion track, although trumpeted by QR in reality portrays a gloomy picture.
 
An on-line search of T.A.B. results of the most recent meeting (December 19) revealed a combined on-and off-course hold of under $900,000 compared with Friday grass track meetings which regularly top $1.1 million.
 
(The Clifford Park Friday meeting of December 26 attracted a combined hold of $1,140,238 according to the T.A.B. on-line results page).
 
The Downs and South West Trainers and Owners Association, which represents the vast majority of the regional racing community, has been put on notice of desertion by a significant number of its members.
 
"There are at least 15 stables that we know of which will close in Toowoomba if cushion track comes," said DSWTOA committeeman Gary Wells. "And that's just the tip of the iceberg."
 
"Imagine the downturn in unemployment and the city's economy which is looming large on the horizon" he said.
 
Former TTC secretary Allen Volz has no doubt that Toowoomba will become a racing ghost town post cushion track.
 
"My prediction is that the track will not even last at Corbould Park given reports of its current performance, so where will this leave us in Toowoomba ?
 
"Conditions are difficult enough with the prevailing topography at Clifford Park, let alone having to contend with a product which seems to have extreme maintenance peculiarities.
 
"I am aware that members of the DSWTOA     who have done their homework properly can establish a reliable water supply which would guarantee good grass growing conditions at Clifford Park for ever and a day.
 
"he trouble with Queensland racing is that it is being run by people with little knowledge of racing.
 
"Someone, somewhere, has to put a stop to this insanity before it's too late," he said.

Offline ted e turner

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« 2009-Jan-02, 08:56 AM Reply #14 »
insanity and bob bentley go hand in hand,maybe we should call him kick-back vote rorting bob?

Offline dubbledee

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« 2009-Jan-02, 09:27 AM Reply #15 »
More troubles.  Now a dog has got an eye infection near Clifford Park. :/


From yesterday's Toowoomba Chronicle:



ANGER SURFACES OVER RACE PLANS

CONCERNED residents living in near Clifford Park Racecourse claim they have not received any information about the new synthetic race track that will soon be in their back yards.

Residents fear the material, which is already piled beside the Hursley Road side of the racecourse, could be damaging to their health. The material is due to be laid after February 14.

They have called for answers.

Robert Hollingsworth, from Tancred Avenue, said his concern was the silica sand component of the material.

The new Cushion Track will contain long and short synthetic fibres, rubber and wax.

Mr Hollingsworth, who has an asbestos removal licence, said the silica sand could have the potential to be as damaging as asbestos.

"Queensland has always been 15 years behind the times and needs to catch up. If in California they say that silica causes cancer then thatís good enough for me," he said.

Mr Hollingsworth said since the material was stockpiled at the course his pet dog had developed eye infections which he said was too much of a coincidence.

Jennifer King has lived in her home for 51 years and moving was not an option.

"Itís just not knowing. We donít know whatís going to happen," she said.

Michael and Lisa Andrews, who live on Hursley Road with their two children, resent being left uninformed.

"To say that Iím unhappy about all of this is an understatement," Mr Andrews said.

"We have been told nothing."

The family, who enjoy listening to the sound of horsesí hooves as they pass their house in the mornings, were happy living with dust from the grass surface, but were worried about the new material already blowing into their home.

Toowoomba Turf Club chairman Neville Stewart passed The Chronicleís inquiries to Queensland Racing Limited (QRL) chairman Bob Bentley.

Mr Bentley  defended the material stating it had been tested, at laboratories in Germany and Australia, before being laid at the Sunshine Coast track at Caloundra. It does not leach and has Environmental Protection Agency approval.

He reiterated: "This is just scare-mongering by a minority group of people who have a different agenda."

Mr Bentley said QRL was constructing a racetrack, not a building and had kept the racing fraternity informed.

An information session, where written submissions from anxious residents can be addressed, has been set down for January 12.

Offline dubbledee

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« 2009-Jan-02, 09:38 AM Reply #16 »
Given the sizes of fields at other venues around the SE corner, QRL would be disappointed that just 75 horses will be racing at Sunshine Coast today.

Rightly or wrongly, there can be no doubt there's a body of trainers with an aversion for the synthetic surface.

Offline gratlog

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« 2009-Jan-02, 09:40 AM Reply #17 »
Where is the state opposition on this matter.

Weak as  :censored: they are.

Offline gratlog

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« 2009-Jan-02, 09:41 AM Reply #18 »
I know the money comes into it and they have to race somewhere, but a total boycott might be the only way.

DD, 75 isn't to bad when you see that Sydney have 81 tomorrow before scratching  :biggrin:
« Last Edit: 2009-Jan-02, 09:45 AM by gratlog »

Offline monologue

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« 2009-Jan-02, 09:48 AM Reply #19 »
A few races have already been sceduled for this track come carnival time in July.

A 12 race programme is being muted with the last 4 races to be run under lights on the cushion.

I did read somewhere the other week that a couple of Victorian provinical tracks will go this way as well.

Offline ted e turner

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« 2009-Jan-02, 11:21 AM Reply #20 »
yeah bob we believe you,better get in laid bob before the silica floats away into residents homes
sounds a bit late! emthdown
nev stewart and bob bentley what a team,looking like labor ministers up the hill will be struggling to keep their seats come state election

Offline dubbledee

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« 2009-Jan-02, 03:38 PM Reply #21 »
The track at Caloundra is now wet.  There's virtually no kick-back that I can see.  I guess the track is firmer, which might mean a different outcome. :unsu

Offline westie

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« 2009-Jan-02, 03:53 PM Reply #22 »
Can someone please explain the difference between a cushion track and synthetic surface.  I understand the water runs off vertically at Corbould Park, Caloundra and that it has long and short synthetic fibres, rubber, silca sand and wax, but why is it called cushion ?.

Offline dubbledee

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« 2009-Jan-02, 04:00 PM Reply #23 »
Westie

There's a variety of "synthetic surfaces", one of which is Cushion Track.  Some I know are Pro-Ride, Thorough Track, Visco-ride (?sp).

Cushion Track would be a proprietary name, I expect, and chosen to give the message that it's soft on horses' foots.

Best I can do. :unsu

Offline westie

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« 2009-Jan-02, 04:10 PM Reply #24 »
Thanks, I thought it might have been a QLD thing,   :biggrin:  but your explanation makes sense.  Did the USA go for Pro-Ride.


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