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Track was 'unsafe'

Monday, 21st March, 2011

DISAPPOINTED: Trainer Gary Kennewell at the St Patrick’s Races on Saturday. He was denied his chance at winning back-to-back Outback Cups after the track was deemed unsafe. DISAPPOINTED: Trainer Gary Kennewell at the St Patrick’s Races on Saturday. He was denied his chance at winning back-to-back Outback Cups after the track was deemed unsafe.

Rain ruins good day's racing

By Kurtis Eichler

No one was more disappointed with Saturday's cancellation of racing than last year's feature event winning trainer, Gary Kennewell.

The scrapping of the races due to a wet track meant that Mr Kennewell was denied the chance to take his horse Amyjaye Power to back-to-back wins.

However the trainer of more than two decades said he wouldn't have had his horse or his jockey ride on what he described as a "disgraceful" muddy track.

"It was just a mud ball," he told the BDT.

"There was absolutely no chance of racing on that surface. And I know the jockey wouldn't have raced."

He said volunteers were trying frantically to rake back the track in the hope of getting it down to a dry surface, but it proved too wet.

"It's just rotten bad luck."

Kennewell's eight-year-old gelding was odds on favourite to take out the $45,000 Outback Cup which had 10 entries after a scratching.

But the trainer said the jockey wouldn't have been able to perform with the mud flinging up and obscuring his vision.

However some trainers were happy to race on it, said Mr Kennewell.

While many trainers and jockeys headed home after the races had been called off, Kennewell stuck around to enjoy the day.

"It wasn't too bad a day afterwards."

He also questioned the decision to change the date, and said it might have been nicer weather had the club held it two weeks later in March.

The Morphetville trainer said he would definitely be back next year for what he hopes will be much sunnier conditions.

Club president Margaret Corradini said it was Todd Smith, Chairman of Stewards for Western and Central District Racing, who made the final decision.

"The track with the overnight rain had surface water on it and attempts were made to remove the surface water," she said.

"It looked like they might have been succeeding but the surface water was not going quick enough and as a end result the track was not safe for racing."

Ms Corradini said Mr Smith's decision to delay making a call until midday was to give the give the club every opportunity to race.

She also gave a special thanks to all those ho helped in trying to rescue the track.

"It was amazing to see how many people put their hand up to help us on Saturday morning, the committee worked non-stop for hours.

"We had visiting trainers such as Paula Trenwith using her own vehicle to drag the track, we had Gary Radford grading the car park, we had stewards and strappers on shovels, it was an amazing scene but in the end the weather won out."

"At 7 o'clock (Saturday) morning it had sheets of water all over it and after that it appeared to be improving and we thought there might be some chance if we held off long enough that the track might be OK to race.

"But we just did not have enough time to get to that stage."

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