IN one of the biggest overnight back-flips in the history of Brisbane racing the Queensland Oaks meeting will not be run at ‘Clod Land’, which Eagle Farm has been christened in the eyes of the racing fraternity.

Industry insiders are claiming that Racing Queensland, facing a threatened boycott of the new track by top trainers and jockeys, overruled the insistence by Brisbane Racing Club chairman, Neville Bell 24 hours earlier that: “This track is safe for racing and we will race here for the rest of the carnival."

Living up to their modus operandi of procrastinating when it comes to important decision making on controversial issues, it seems officialdom cannot agree on where the Oaks meeting will be moved to when the obvious choice would appear to be across the road at Doomben.

Champion trainer Chris Waller headed the charge of protest against the disgraceful state of  Eagle Farm after Saturday’s meeting. THE AGE reported that Waller wanted urgent talks with RQ administrators about the standard of the track surface.

PATRICK BARTLEY quoted Waller as saying that punters, breeders and owners were disadvantaged by a race meeting being held at Eagle Farm ‘considering the condition of the surface’ which was ‘far from satisfactory’.

THE AGE claimed some trainers and owners from the south had even abandoned plans of travelling to Queensland because of the condition of track.

“The track is obviously not good enough. How do you explain to punters and owners about horses that lose 16 to 20 lengths of form racing on a track like that,” Waller said?

“But we must be unified in our call for changes and after I speak to those at the club I will make a formal request to the Australian Trainers' Association requesting a change of venue,” he said.

The track was again roundly condemned on Saturday when it played in the heavy range despite no rain for more than a week. After the first race, Kerrin McEvoy said it was the worst track he had ridden on.

The Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup was run on a heavy track with many saying that next Saturday's Queensland Oaks meeting and the Stradbroke Handicap the following week must be moved to Doomben.

Local trainer Liam Birchley was among the many to raise questions after the last race on Saturday. “It is going to kill our industry here. I am sick of going to the races and telling my owners that their horse has worked well and has a winning chance only to see them labour on this track. It is like throwing darts and guessing how they will go.”

Bell was stubbornly refusing calls for the meeting to move as late as Saturday evening declaring conditions were obviously far from satisfactory but ‘the main thing was stewards and jockeys believed the track was safe’.

Bell said critics had to understand moving the meetings would cost the industry millions in lost revenue and achieve little.

Finally, 24 hours after one of the most embarrassing days in Queensland carnival history, the penny dropped at Racing Queensland before a bucket full landed on the heads of someone supposedly running the show or the message burrowed its way under the big mushroom to Racing Minister Grace Grace.

“The decision, in light of the track performance at Eagle Farm yesterday, was made in order to present the best possible surface for Group 1 racing,” an RQ statement said.

“RQ has consulted widely with industry associations and gained feedback from a wide selection of members including the nation's leading participants.”

RQ said the consensus was that the track was safe but inferior.

“Racing Queensland is committed to providing the outcomes that are in the best interests of the industry as a whole and that includes a racing surface befitting the quality of the horses and races being contested,” RQ chief executive, Eliot Forbes, said.

Stakeholders are pleased that at last someone is listening but won’t be satisfied by half measures – they want the Stradbroke meeting moved as well – and EAGLE FARM CLOSED.

In the meantime the Racing Minister and the Government is entitled to ask on behalf of the Government how $10 million on industry funds and taxpayers’ money has been wasted and what can be salvaged from this terrible mess.

If the answers aren’t satisfactory then RQ should sack the BRC Board and replace it with an administrator or the Government should sack the RQ Board and put some people in charge who can regain some respectability for racing in the Sunshine State.