Chelmsford Stakes Day Moved To Warwick Farm

Saturday’s Chelmsford Stakes Day has been relocated from Randwick Racecourse to Warwick Farm after safety concerns were voiced over Randwick’s ageing grandstand.

Engineers have been constantly monitoring the QEII Stand and the spread of concrete cancer that has plagued the 40-year-old structure.

The stand is due to receive a $150 million refurbishment next year.

Australian Turf Club’s (ATC) chief executive officer Darren Pearce expressed his disappointment over the necessary venue change.

“Very disappointing news today that we weren’t able to hold the meeting safely at Randwick,” Mr Pearce said.

“Hopefully the fields will hold up for punters and connections alike.”

“We identified that one of the roof beams in the QEII stand has a structural problem.”

Mr Pearce said that the meeting could not go ahead because the QEII stand is the focal point of the entire racecourse.

“The QE11 stand is a bit like the beating heart of Randwick Racecourse,” he said.

“(It) houses such industry assets as the steward’s room and weighing room.

“So given the safety ruling on the QEII stand we need to do significant testing.

“After consulting with the trainer’s association and Racing NSW, Warwick Farm was determined to be the most appropriate venue.”

An engineer’s assessment over the next few days will determine whether racing will continue at Randwick for the remainder of the Spring Racing Carnival.

“Hopefully we can move forward with the rest of the spring carnival,” Mr Pearce said.

“I’m hoping that it’s an isolated incident. It is the beam that is most exposed to the weather.

“We are already working on an engineering solution to fix that.”

Mr Pearce said that the safety of race goers and staff was of highest concern.

“We need to put that as our priority and we are doing that now,” he said.

The ATC wished to thank Racing NSW for their co-operation.

“One thing that is good is we have very professional administration at NSW Racing,” Mr Pearce said.

“They all were understanding of the situation.

“(I am) very appreciative of the effort of those people.”

Final fields for Chelmsford Stakes Day are yet to be released, with trainers being given the opportunity to reconsider their acceptances at the new venue.

“Obviously because of the changing of the venue we needed to give trainers the opportunity to (confirm) their acceptances,” Mr Pearce said.

“I don’t think that will be too far away now.”

Mr Pearce is hopeful that despite the change in venue, nobody will be adversely affected by the alteration.

“The weather forecast is good and we’re hopeful that the fields remain intact,” he said.

“They’ll (Warwick Farm) see some of the stars of the spring going through their paces and getting ready for the spring ahead.

“We had to put safety first… but the show goes on.

“Hopefully every horse has the opportunity to use (Chelmsford Stakes Day) as the springboard that this meeting represents.”

Chelmsford Stakes Day features the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes, Group 2 Furious Stakes, Group 3 Tramway Quality Handicap and the Group 3 Concorde Stakes.

All races distances and conditions are set to remain unchanged for all races at Warwick Farm on Saturday, apart from the Benchmark 80 event which will be reduced from the original 1,800 metres to 1,600 metres.

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