Hot to trot at Southside
HARNESS RACING: The harness races held at the Gympie Turf Club's Zinc 96 Family Picnic Race Day were a huge success, president Spencer Slatter said yesterday.
Slatter said the trainers and drivers were pleased with the surface of the track and Racing Queensland officals were so happy with how it went that the club will hopefully host more trots at Gympie in the future.
He said watering and rolling the track last Saturday morning was effective, and by the afternoon the track was firm.
Riders in the thoroughbred races held earlier in the day had said to Slatter the more compact track suited them better as well, with less sand being thrown back.
"Quite a lot of people came just to watch the harness races," he said.
Although there were plenty of the usual racegoers, there were also a lot of out-of-town people who had bussed from Brisbane, Slatter said.
Nineteen pacers contested the three harness races.
Each race was over about 1500m, with drivers and harness racing stewards expressing satisfaction with the racing surface and the trouble-free events.
Owner, trainer and driver John Kerr renewed an acquaintance with the Gympie track when he piloted the outsider of the field, Weasel, to win the first harness race.
A brother to one-time leading Brisbane identity Michael Kerr, John is married to Carmel Doyle who rode regularly in Gympie.
The New Zealand-bred Weasel, who won at Albion Park back in March, was moved on by his previous connections as he was hard to handle.
Well-bred three-year-old filly Somethings Sizzling led all the way to win the R0 to R1 class for trainer-driver Mick Logan while the Noel Parrish-trained and driven Hez to Blame did the same in the second harness race. Each event carried prize money of $1500, with the mobile start at the top of the straight giving patrons a great view of the spectacle.
It seems likely that the innovation may continue on the Gympie track.