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Qld carnival too much of a good thing?

 Jun 1 2012

Queensland's renowned winter carnival – it actually starts officially during the autumn – has a quality day of mainly black type racing this Saturday highlighted by the Group One Queensland Oaks and supported by five Group Two events.

As a devout Queenslander it pains me somewhat to declare that the carnival really is a bit too long. It is another case of more is not better.

When you scan the entire carnival it kicks off with the Hollindale Stakes meeting at the Gold Coast on May 5 and rolls on to June 30 for Caloundra Cup day at the Sunshine Coast.

How you concertina the cavalcade of 10 separate racedays into a more concise program may not be simple, but these days, it hard to maintain the momentum even in a laid back environment like Queensland.

A compact program of quality racing not starting as early as it did this year may be the way to go.
It seems unreasonable that the BTC Cup, a Group One, at Doomben should clash with the Group One Goodwood Handicap at Morphettville in South Australia.

More so this year than others when the Goodwood had the glamour girl Black Caviar going for 21 successive wins.

Recently the chief steward in Brisbane, Wade Birch, made the threat to jockeys that he may add substantial fines in concert with terms of suspension.This is a bad idea.

It is hard to support fines and terms of suspensions because it is a classic case of stewards "double dipping".

After all, a term of suspension is a fairly savage form of fine because it effectively cuts off a jockey's source of income.

It should be one thing or the other. If the offence warrants it, there should be either a term of suspension or a hefty fine.

Jockey Chris Munce is stark testimony of what can be achieved in racing.

From those dark days when he – unjustly – spent time in a Hong Kong jail for the "dastardly" crime of tipping, he now is riding high back in Brisbane and on Saturday may enhance his record in the Queensland Oaks to five.

Last year Munce became the most successful Oaks jockeys by winning his fourth on Miss Keepsake. His performance topped the previous record of three held jointly by Mick Dittman and Andy Tindall.

Prospects of Munce further enhancing his strike rate look particularly good because his mount Miss Artistic is racing in excellent form.

Trained by Shaun Ritchie, she is the NZ Oaks winner at Trentham and has had the benefit of two runs right handed in Queensland.

After a first up fourth at the Gold Coast she was a close second in the 2000 metre The Roses at Doomben on May 19.

Another feature on Saturday is the Sires Produce Stakes and it looks to be a two horse affair with the favourite Sizzling and the second favourite Academus.

This pair fought out the finish of the Champagne Classic at Doomben on May 19 with Sizzling just gaining the verdict.

Maybe Academus will turn the tables this time?

A Peter Snowden trained gelding, Academus has only had two career starts for two seconds. He should be ready to open his account.

As for the Queensland Guineas, the Jim Cassidy mount, Boys on Tour, has a good chance at double figure odds.

At his latest start Boys on Tour finished a good third to race favourite Mental after having had a chequered run in the Fred Best Classic and he should give a good account of himself over the 1400 metres at Eagle Farm.

Rod Gallegos

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