The Yea Cup picnic race meeting almost didn’t happen at the weekend when stewards inspected the track and discovered an area close to the running rail near the 1300m which was unsafe.
Fortunately Yea Racing Club was able to move a 25m section of the running rail outwards by 1m to avoid the unsafe area without impacting on a smooth racing line.
Stewards also said with the recent extreme heat and significant track watering — with what they described as a ‘‘less than perfect sprinkler system’’ — some areas of the track produced slightly inconsistent going.
‘‘While a good 4 represented the majority of the track, there were sections which were somewhat softer,’’ a spokesman said.
‘‘All riders were notified of the rail alterations and the nature of the track before racing started.’’
However, by the time the $6000 Rodwells Ruralco Property Yea Cup over 2140m was due there was a 10-minute delay with growing concerns about the safety of the track.
‘‘The start of this race was delayed due to a track inspection by both stewards and riders subsequent to the running of the fourth race,’’ he said.
The cup meeting was the club’s third and final for the season.
Bendigo trainer Arthur Pace and jockey Courtney Pace took seven-year-old gelding Fold to the meeting, and it was an all-or-nothing attempt because it was the only horse they had entered in the six-race card.
And they clearly knew what they were doing because their horse, carrying the top weight of 68kg, won by 3.5 lengths despite racing wide without cover in the middle stages of the race.
It also caught the eye of stewards around the 400m mark when it rolled slightly while improving its position.
But they gave the horse the benefit of doubt and its tenth win from 35 starts.
Something of a picnic race specialist, Fold is a regular on the Yea track but just to prove he still had it the veteran took out a race at Bendigo on November 27, adding $11000 to his career earnings to bring the total to $54463.