The new course proper at Ballarat was put through its paces last Thursday morning with 36 horses trialling on the surface ahead of the scheduled return to racing on Sunday June 1st.
The Darren Weir, Dan O’Sullivan, Simon Morrish and Aquanita stables were represented in the trials over 800m, 1000m and 1400m and riders included Brad Rawiller, Ben Melham, Michelle Payne, Dean Yendall, Luke Currie and Dean Larsson.
The track features an improved home turn camber, and a perfectly even home straight following the removal of the famous dip.
All riders involved on Thursday morning’s trials gave positive reviews of the track.
“I was really pleased with the track,” said leading jockey Brad Rawiller.
“The surface is beautiful to ride, the camber is terrific on the turn and I can’t wait to be riding on it on raceday.”
Michelle Payne was also impressed, describing the surface as in “perfect condition” and that the improved camber and removal of the dip “seemed to be a winner”, while Ben Melham also rated the surface as “perfect”.
Ballarat Turf Club CEO Lachlan McKenzie said “We have been extremely pleased with the entire project to date and this morning’s trials are the final tick of approval ahead of our return to racing on Sunday 1st June.”
“It is terrific to receive such positive feedback from some of the leading riders in the state and we are very grateful for the support of everyone in the industry.”
The surface will be monitored closely over the winter period and the programming carefully managed to ensure the turf is kept in optimum condition as it continues to consolidate.
The Ballarat Turf Club will celebrate the return to racing on Sunday June 1st, with a Wonderous Winters Day, where families can enjoy a range of attractions including real snow – which will provide a toboggan run and snow play area.