The opening race day of the Sydney Racing Carnival has experienced an unexpectedly low number of acceptances at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday March 19, 2011.
The racecourse is often home to full 18 horses fields, however, on Saturday’s Coolmore Classic Day many races will feature fields of just five or six runners.
While there is a severe lack of quantity in Sydney this Saturday, the Australian Turf Club’s Chief Executive Darren Pearce was quick to stress the abundance of quality fields making their appearance.
“It’s certainly frustrating that we can only get small fields, but it has to be highlighted that the quality of horse is definitely there,” Mr Pearce said.
“We have four of the first six horses in betting for the Golden Slipper competing on Saturday – along with the likes of More Joyous, the Caulfield Cup winner, Descarado, and the Melbourne Cup runner-up, Maluckyday.”
Mr Pearce is mindful of the fact that due to such quality competition, many trainers and owners may have chosen to run their horses in less competitive races at other meetings.
“When you have a dominant colt like Sepoy, some connections are happy to steer clear and wait another week,” he said.
However, with races such as the Group 2 Reisling Stakes, it is difficult to understand why more runners have not accepted for the Black Type events.
“It’s surprising we have only a small field in the Reisling, because running second or third in a juvenile stakes race as a filly can be very valuable, so it’s disappointing to see only six fillies lining up,” Mr Pearce said.
“It’s certainly going to affect the wagering turnover.”
The decision by Melbourne’s racing officials to move the Group 1 William Reid Stakes back a fortnight after the Newmarket Handicap may be partly to blame for the lack of runners, deterring many Victorian horses from travelling north for the opening of the Sydney Racing Carnival.