Mares in the Oaks?

The Brisbane Racing Club in association with Racing Queensland have announced they will be holding a review of the conditions for the Queensland Oaks.

RQ and the BRC are keen to expand the Oaks so that mares can compete in the race that is usually reserved for fillies.

Racing Queensland Director of Product Development Paul Brennan said that the issue was sure to provoke debate, but that was the reason for the joint discussion paper.

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

BRC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Ferguson said that the BRC was keen to seek industry views on the matter.

“The aim is always to provide a racing schedule to best suit the 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 or RQL, BRC and the Australian Pattern Committee to address the issue,” continued Ferguson.

It is believed that the discussion paper focuses on the inequities that exist within the current Queensland racing schedule.

There are currently five Group One in races in Brisbane that are open to three year old fillies. The longest Group 1 for mares is just 1600m.

Authorities have not ruled out keeping the Oaks as a three year old only race, but should they decided to do that, there is little doubt that the format will be altered.