Eagle Farm is on track for the May 11 re-opening according to premiership winning jockey Michael Cahill.
Cahill was given the job of testing out the new Eagle Farm course proper when he galloped the Desleigh Forster trained Cylinder Beach on the new surface on Saturday morning.
The widely travelled jockey gave a glowing report and said the new grass felt terrific under foot.
“It looks beautiful and felt good going over it,” Cahill told The Courier-Mail.
“It rode very well and he hardly marked it.”
“The new section at the 1000m, that would be the part of the track you would be most worried about, but I would say the track looks on target.”
The last section of grass was laid on top of the newly constructed tunnel at the 1000m mark last week and the Brisbane Racing Club hierarchy are confident it will be ready for racing on May 11.
Queensland’s number one sprinter Buffering also had the privilege of testing out the new surface before he headed off to Dubai to claim first prize in the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan (Turf) on March 26.
The morning of his gallop on March 8 saw a couple of showers sweep across the northern suburbs and onlookers were concerned that the track wouldn’t be ready for the May 11 re-opening after seeing plenty of turf thrown up.
But Jockey Damian Browne, who rode the Robert Heathcote trained Buffering, was full of praise for the new track and is looking forward to riding it on a regular basis when it is back in action.
“The track feels amazing – after the amount of rain he really got through it well,” Browne said.
“They hardly even marked it really and he was able to really stretch out on it and appreciated it.
“I am looking forward to getting back here and riding on it.
“It was just like running on a mattress, more or less.
“It is a great style of grass with a bit of cushion there and they were really able to stride out.
“We are in for some times ahead.
Several delays in the re-construction of the Eagle Farm track have frustrated the Brisbane Racing Club, its members and the racing participants who are now looking forward to returning to the headquarters of Queensland Racing.
Eagle Farm hasn’t seen any racing since it closed on August 15, 2014, forcing the prestigious 2015 Winter Carnival Group 1s to be conducted at Doomben and the Gold Coast.
The local racing fraternity will welcome the return to Eagle Farm of the major Winter Carnival features with the Group 1 $500,000 Queensland Oaks (2400m) scheduled to be run on June 4.
The Stradbroke Handicap will be run the following week along with the Group 1 $600,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) and the Group 1 $600,000 J.J. Atkins (1600m) for the two year olds.
And the Group 1 $500,000 Tattersall’s Club Tiara (1400m) for the fillies and mares will return to Eagle Farm on June 25 after being run at the Gold Coast in 2015.