Is southeast Queensland metropolitan racing suffering from a COVID hangover?
Numbers are generally strong across the season in Queensland metropolitan racing, but diminished fields have become a pattern over the past couple of months.
Saturday’s Gold Coast meeting was left with just 79 runners after scratchings and three races with fewer than eight runners.
That means that in less than two months of racing this season, the tally of Saturday metro races with seven or less runners is already 18.
Compare that to last season, where the entire year only had 55 races with the smaller number.
In the eight seasons from 2012-13 to 2019-20, the Saturday numbers of races with less than eight runners came in between 30 and 55.
Fields have dropped significantly in SEQ. Picture: Greg Irvine, Magic MillionsSource:Supplied
This season is a long way ahead of that curve.
The eight metro meetings so far have averaged 9.1 runners per race.
That compares to an average of 10.5 last season and 11 and 10.9 the previous two years.
As an aside, Victorian metropolitan Saturday races averaged 10.8 last season and New South Wales 10.3.
One theory for the smaller numbers at the moment is the COVID-19 situation.
Many stables kept horses in work during the winter when they would normally have been sent to the paddock while the better races were run. With the carnival mostly scrapped this year, the theory is that many horses stayed in work with more run of the mill races being run, in addition to the fear of racing being shut down. Now those same horses have gone to the paddock, leaving a shortage of numbers for the spring period.
Hopefully it’s only a short term issue and the numbers return to the norm soon enough, so punters can get their teeth into some deeper markets.
Despite the metro numbers being light-on of late, there’s no shortage of meetings in southeast Queensland and nine races at Dalby on Saturday all had eight or more runners, as did seven of the eight at Ipswich.
Huge funds raised
The final amount of funds raised on Saturday are still to be finalised, but the tally was boosted by a $20,000 contribution from SKY Racing and the Gold Coast Turf Club.
A cheque was presented to Pink Ribbon day founder Robyn Cameron on Saturday to go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Ladbrokes weekend Report
Best Result/Best Backed: Lyre, Caulfield, Race 9: Despite a lengthy run of outs, punters absolutely truck loaded Lyre in the last and the book avoided a horror result when she missed the place behind Felicia.
Worst Result: Behemoth, Caulfield, Race 8: Was well-backed all week long and we had a number of big bets land late.
Markets – Ladbrokes
Golden Rose, run Saturday
$5 North Pacific
$7.50 Ole Kirk
$14 King’s Legacy
Tomorrow: Beaudesert, Wyong, Kyneton
Wednesday: Eagle Farm, Canterbury, Flemington, Strathalyn, Belmont
Thursday: Ipswich, Hawkesbury, Lismore, Sale
Friday: The Valley (night), Sunshine Coast (night), Cairns, Ewan, Goulburn, Scone, Benalla
Saturday: Toowoomba, Rosehill, Caulfield, Morphettville Parks, Belmont, Gold Coast, Ewan, Gladstone, Longreach, Mount Isa, Taroom, Kembla Grange, Coleraine
Sunday: Sunshine Coast, Port Macquarie, Bathurst, Mornington, Kilmore, Penola, Northam, Devonport (synthetic), Alice Springs
“I thought we were going to get Willowed.” David Jolly on his thoughts when Behemoth was desperately seeking a run. Craig Williams extricated him in plenty of time though on his way to a winning treble.
The Talking Point
Classique Legend surging up Everest betting charts with his monster win in The Shorts. Luckless in the race last year, he seems an even better horse now after overcoming traffic problems before the corner. The Everest pace set up looks ideal for him to unleash.
Tegan Harrison played a couple of roles in the success of Epic Girl, firstly recommending blinkers and then being able to apply just enough pressure to Kisukano in the run to leave her vulnerable at the end.
Three to Back
Prospectus, Gold Coast, Race 9: Was left a sitting shot after others dropped off.
Miravalle, Randwick, Race 4: Half-sister to Yankee Rose who charged late. Will come into her own over further.
Dadoozdart, Randwick, Race 5: Best run in Australia so far. Further now.
Reloaded (Randwick, Race 5) consistently starts in the market, but has now gone nine runs since winning on debut in April last year. Was in the right spot on Saturday but showed no dash.
Lyre (Caulfield Race 9) was truckloaded in the betting despite having not won since last year’s Diamond and never really gave her backers much hope. Punters will surely put her in the sin bin now.
Behemoth (Caulfield Race 8) faced a mountain of history with his 60kg in the Sir Rupert Clarke but punters got it spot on, singling him out in what looked a very open race.
Originally published asMonday Mail: Is SEQ racing suffering a COVID hangover?
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