IPSWICH has a week off racing until the next meeting on March 22.
There are challenges in maintaining a turf track for racing 50 times a year, and such breaks are gratefully received by track staff.
An intense week of track scarifying, coring, aerating, top dressing and fertilising is under way in what may be the final chance for significant track maintenance prior to winter.
The track staff at Ipswich have regularly produced quality surfaces this season despite the heavy rain, intense heat, and the dry spell.
As the rainfall at Bundamba since October 1 gets close to 1000mm, there is continued difficulty with operating race meetings in safe conditions.
The question was raised again at the Ipswich meeting last week as 65mm fell in the 24 hours prior to the program, including 8mm between 10am and midday. This rain placed doubt over the meeting, which was conducted on a heavy 10 rated track.
However, a track inspection by jockeys and stewards an hour prior to the first race resulted in a decision to proceed.
All parties confirmed a heavy but safe surface and racing went off without a hitch maintaining the track rating of heavy 10 throughout the day.
APPRENTICE jockey Jackson Murphy combined with Toowoomba trainer Lindsay Hatch to collect a winning double at last week's Ipswich Metropolitan Wednesday race meeting.
The trainer and jockey each only had two starters for the day and were pleased with a 100 per cent winning return.
The winners for the duo were Johnny Be Quick in the second race and Shuda Known Better at the end of the meeting.
The double gave rider Murphy seven winners for the current season to lead the table for apprentices at Ipswich.
Another trainer to collect a winning double was Barry Baldwin.
After winning with the Ipswich connected Glendara in Brisbane on the previous weekend, Baldwin continued the good form last Wednesday.
His winners were in consecutive races with Michael Cahill guiding home Toujours L'amour before Jeff Lloyd maintained his gap at the head of the Jockey's Premiership winning aboard Oh Boy.
Trainer Tony Gollan put a space of two between he and Robert Heathcote at the top of the Premiership after his 16th season win with Ponytales, who had Jim Byrne steering her home.
WHILE Jake Bayliss continues winning regularly in New Zealand, brother Regan made the headlines again at Flemington with his third career Group 1 win aboard Redkirk Warrior.
All three of Regan's top level wins have been at Flemington aboard the same galloper who made it two consecutive Newmarket Handicaps after collecting the Lightning a few weeks ago.
The result of the narrow win was however another suspension for the rider who turns 21 on Tuesday.
Last week Bayliss was suspended for reckless riding in the Australian Guineas aboard Main Stage. He was however allowed to ride on Saturday with the original suspension starting the next day.
The latest suspension from Saturday was for overuse of the whip prior to the final 100 metres of the race. This means Bayliss will not be back in the race day saddle until early April.
There were positives to take out of the ride as the youngster's style has racing watchers viewing him as the leader of the next generation of riding stars. The outstretched Bayliss on the line pushing the winner's head down was reminiscent of the same galloper's narrow win in the Lightning, although that win was coming from behind.
Another positive from the past two weeks is the humility and respect shown by Regan Bayliss in the steward's rooms and through the media. He apologised to all for his mistakes resulting in suspension.
His statement upon being interviewed immediately after the win said it all: "I am blessed to be riding this horse", deflecting the spotlight from himself to Redkirk Warrior.
After a week off, the next Ipswich March meeting is Thursday, March 23, then Wednesday, March 28.