Robert Heathcote has come out swinging at Racing Queensland today with another six race card scheduled in Brisbane on Wednesday.
An 1100m maiden event was scrubbed from the program leaving Heathcote’s horse Vacallo without an event to run in.
While the heavy downpours across Brisbane no doubt played a big role in the lack of acceptors, there was no rain to blame last week and it masks an ongoing concern.
“They (RQ) are running racing as if the money is coming out of their own pocket,” Heathcote said.
“It’s things like this that are driving owners and trainers out of the state.”
Making Heathcote even more angry was the fact he had originally nominated for a backup race as well just in case this type of thing were to happen.
He said he even rang Racing Queensland before final fields were released to try and secure his spot.
“I then asked if the horse could be included – they told me they would get back to me but half an hour later fields came out and the horse wasn’t there.
“We weren’t allowed to go into the three-year-old race, even though I was told the final fields hadn’t been declared when I made the inquiry. The fact the other race doesn’t have a capacity field makes it even more frustrating.”
He says it’s a problem that doesn’t just affect him but reflects poorly on the entire Queensland industry.
“Yet again we have a metropolitan midweek meeting with only six races,” he said.
“A little bit of PR would have gone a long way. It’s bitterly disappointing and I am embarrassed for our owners.”
Paul Brennan from Racing Queensland acknowledge there were areas where his organisation could have done better but said some of the blame falls directly with Heathcote.
He says the trainer could have ‘put a note’ with his original nomination saying he would like to run in an alternate event if required.
“All the trainers would have got a text to say the race had been abandoned. Unfortunately we can’t send that until after the deadline has expired,” he said.
“To be fair, I’m disappointed my guys didn’t pick that up, but I’m also disappointed the trainers never used their powers within RISA to put in that note.”
Midweek metropolitan races in Brisbane were reduced to seven events two seasons ago and Brennan says it’s a financial necessity in the current environment.
“The board has to take a commercial stance on this and whether or not the return on that prizemoney is worthwhile,” he said.