No go zone: Vandyke gives Eagle Farm the flick
David Vandyke has become the first trainer to publicly black ban the maligned Eagle Farm surface, telling clients on Tuesday he would no longer be starting any stable runners there.
After feature meetings on December 26 and January 2, Eagle Farm came under fire from trainers and jockeys for being too hard and also for the top layer chopping out.
The Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers Association called for submissions from trainers, who were almost universal in their condemnation of the current state of the track.
It led to a meeting being held last week, where trainers and jockeys voiced their concerns to Racing Queensland Chief Executive Brendan Parnell.
Trainers put Racing Queensland on notice at that meeting, declaring the current situation as unacceptable and demanding RQ come up with a plan to fix the track.
There have been murmurs from a few trainers on not starting their horses at the venue, but on Tuesday, Vandyke was the first to declare he won't be starting his horses there. "Due to the state of the Eagle Farm track and in the best interest of our horses, we will not be running at that venue until further notice," Vandyke said in a statement to clients.
When asked to comment to the Courier Mail, Vandyke said the decision followed the performance of three horses that were unplaced at Eagle Farm on January 2.
"Dissolution and Hold The Line both won on Saturday, while Desert Lord ran terrific when only beaten a nose," Vandyke said.
"All three were coming off unplaced performances at Eagle Farm."
In the wake of last week's meeting, Parnell said the maintenance program would continue to be refined to "ensure the racing surface provides further cushioning ahead of the winter carnival."
But trainers are sceptical about a maintenance program being able to fix the problems and restore the track to its former greatness.
"The track was one of the most brilliant tracks in Australia for a long time and our goal is to see it back to that level," trainers' representative Cameron Partington said after the meeting.
Originally published as No go zone: Vandyke gives Eagle Farm the flick