Quarantine issues high on list for The Championships debrief

By: Mark Mazzaglia
April 29th, 2014

The establishment of a more friendly quarantine facility for international visitors is high on the discussion list for the Australian Turf Club’s debriefing process following the conclusion of the initial ‘The Championships’ at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

Gordon Lord Byron, red cap,  beats Speediness, green and white, in the George Ryder Stakes

Gordon Lord Byron, red cap, beats Speediness, green and white, in the George Ryder Stakes. Photo by Steve Hart.

The quarantine issue was only one of many topics that are going to be addressed with Australian Turf Club chief executive Darren Pearce also saying the committee will look at marketing, operations, race programming, wagering strategies, domestic and international broadcasts, and pricing at carnival venues.

The success of Irish galloper Gordon Lord Byron and Japan’s Hana’s Goal over the Autumn Carnival should encourage more overseas visitors to the Sydney Carnival in the future but a better quarantine system needs to be introduced after those two internationals were forced to spend several weeks at the Werribee facility in Victoria before being allowed to transfer to Canterbury in Sydney.

“With the internationals performing as well as they did over autumn it means we have to expedite quarantine solutions,’’ Pearce told The Daily Telegraph.

Top Irish trainer Tom Hogan did a tremendous in preparing Gordon Lord Byron first up to win the weight for age Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 29 before finishing sixth to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12.

While Hana’s Goal, prepared by Japanese trainer Kazuhiro Kato, scored at her third run of the Carnival when she came from last to beat Weary and Tiger Tees in the Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday.

There is consideration of setting up a quarantine facility at Hawkesbury which would make it much more convenient for the overseas competitors.

The success of ‘The Championships’ continuing next year and into the future also depends on the ongoing support from the New South Wales Government.

Australian Turf Club Chairman Michael Crismale also said that ‘The Championships’ could be extended to include Golden Slipper Day which sees the running of the world’s richest race for two year olds, the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m).

“Our analysis and post mortem of the carnival will consider whether an iconic race meeting such as the Golden Slipper needs to be embraced as part of The Championships,” Crismale told TVN.
“The Championships has certainly been a great addition to the event we present.”

‘The Championships’ only possessed two weeks of the six week Sydney Autumn Carnival and Crismale is not sure how racegoers would accept an extra week.

“Is it two, three or four weeks?,” Crismale asked.

“I don’t think you can stretch the carnival from a Championship point of view too far wider.

“You certainly need to give punters, racegoers or participants the opportunity to choose between two or three weeks.”

“Not everyone is going to go three weeks in a row.”

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