Toowoomba back in state spotlight
CLIFFORD Park will be welcomed back to the Queensland racing scene next Tuesday with a huge nine-race meeting.
Racing at Toowoomba Turf Club (TTC) has been on hold since July when construction work began to replace the former synthetic course proper.
The cushion track material has been replaced with the revolutionary StrathAyr turf system now used on several Australian race tracks, including Randwick and Moonee Valley.
Racing Minister Steve Dickson said the $6.9 million redevelopment was being delivered as part of the State Government's $110 million pledge for racing infrastructure improvements across the state.
"The State Government is rebuilding racing in Queensland and these major works at the Toowoomba Turf Club are an important part of that commitment," Dickson said.
"The redevelopment project will deliver a world-class thoroughbred track to the city of Toowoomba, and enable the club to once again attract strong race fields and bring more patrons back to the track."
Racing Queensland, in conjunction with the Brisbane Racing Club, have helped boost TTC's Return To Grass meeting profile with the transfer of this year's $175,000 Listed TRC City Of Toowoomba Bernborough Handicap (1625m) from Doomben to Clifford Park to help mark the occasion.
The Bernborough is one of three feature races on the twilight card which extended to eight races at acceptance time yesterday.
Clifford Park's traditional annual feature events, the Brisbane Bloodstock Hopeful Two-Year-Old Plate (1000m) and StrathAyr Fillies and Mares Quality Handicap (1200m), will also be run.
The Bernborough Handicap features Queensland's best available 1600-metre horses, including this month's Brisbane Handicap winner from the Eagle Farm stable of Kelso Wood.
The field also includes Kembla Grange gelding and race top weight Alma's Fury for trainer Paul Murray and the Rosehill-trained Absalon from the Sam Kavanagh stable.
Leading Brisbane jockey Glen Colless will partner Alma's Fury who was a last-start third placegetter in the Group Two Villiers Handicap (1600m) at Randwick.
Colless also partners highly-rated pair Rock Royalty and Liesele on the program for Eagle Farm trainer Liam Birchley.
Rock Royalty resumes in the $30,000 Neil Mansell Transport Maiden Handicap (1200m) and was a recent barrier trial winner on the Clifford Park StrathAyr surface.
Liesele will carry top weight in the Fillies and Mares Quality where she'll look to end Miss Imagica's impressive sequence of Clifford Park feature victories.