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Royal Randwick Racecourse has been confirmed as the definite venue for the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival’s showcase meeting, 2011 Epsom Handicap Day, with Minister for Racing George Souris announcing at a press conference today that the course would be safe to host racing despite earlier concerns.
Last Saturday’s Randwick meeting had to be transferred to Warwick Farm after officials failed to clear the course’s iconic, but aging, Queen Elizabeth II Stand as safe for patrons.
With Epsom Handicap Day fast approaching, set to run on Saturday October 1, and connections of spring horses eager for confirmation of where racing would be held, the Australian Turf Club (ATC) will remove the hazardous parts of the QEII in time for the racing to go ahead at its traditional home.
“After discovering just over a week ago that the roof of the QEII grandstand could pose a risk to the public because of corroded steel cables, the ATC Board took the only action it could, to protect the safety of the public by transferring race meetings to other city tracks,” Mr Souris said.
“Since then, a team of engineers has been on the job, inspecting the grandstand roof and has recommended that by removing that roof, closing the fifth tier and taking other temporary remedial measures, the QEII grandstand would be rendered safe for use.
“I am advised that if work begins now without interruptions, it should be completed in time for the Randwick track to be used for the Epsom Handicap Day and that’s the result we all want.”
While Epsom Handicap Day will run at Randwick Racecourse, Saturday week’s George Main Stakes Day will have to be transferred to Rosehill Racecourse.
That means, the Sydney metro meeting scheduled for Saturday September 17 and headlined by the running of the $350,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) will run at Rosehill Gardens and not Royal Randwick.
Epsom Handicap Day is one of the best days of racing held in Australia, the cracker line-up featuring an all black-type nine-race programme headlined by a quartet of Group One features and the ATC’s Chairman John Cornish was relieved that a solution could be made to ensure Royal Randwick hosted the blockbuster meeting.
“The ATC property team and Arup (engineering) have done an outstanding job to deliver a solution that will result in the QEII stand being safe for all staff and visitors on 1 October to enjoy Sydney’s biggest day of racing this spring,” Mr Cornish said.
“The Randwick track will be rested and in pristine condition for Epsom Day and we can expect a bumper crowd given it will be the first Spring Carnival day at Randwick boasting four time-honoured Group One races.”
The 2011 Epsom Handicap Day Races are:
- $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m)
- $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m)
- $400,000 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m)
- $400,000 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m)
- $200,000 Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m)
- $175,000 Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m)
- $125,000 Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m)
- $100,000 Listed Breeders Plate (1000m)
- $100,000 Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m)
Nominations have already been taken for the Epsom Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap and Spring Champion Stakes with futures betting on all three races now open at Australia’s premier online bookmaker Luxbet.
The odds on the day’s marquee event, the 2011 Epsom Handicap, are currently lead by Stradbroke Handicap winner Sincero who is at $6 through Luxbet to win after their grittly first-up victory at Warwick Farm on September 3.
Other early favourites in the Epsom Handicap 2011 betting include Grahame Begg’s Group 1 winning mare Secret Admirer ($7), stablemate Ilovethiscity ($8) who races at Rosehill this Saturday in the Sebring Sprint and Chris Waller’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes hero My Kingdom Of Fife ($8).
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