“DECREPIT” and “dangerous” are just two of the words used by Queanbeyan trainer Darren Bailey to describe the old practice barriers installed at Queanbeyan Racecourse.
So it’s hardly surprising Bailey has welcomed the arrival of new, state of the art practice barriers at the McCrae Street track as a move long overdue.
The $15,000 barriers arrived in Queanbeyan earlier this month and will be fully installed and operational by next Monday.
Money for the new barriers was raised entirely by the Queanbeyan Trainers’ Association, of which Bailey is a member and former president.
“The practice barriers that trainers had been using were obsolete and a little bit dangerous,” Bailey said.
“They were fairly decrepit really. The worst part is, if you’ve got a young horse and it has a bad experience in the barriers early on, it seems to stick with them their whole career and you end up with a barrier rogue.
“At our last meeting [the association] was throwing around ideas that would help every trainer who uses the track without being biased one way or the other and we decided to invest in a new bank of jump out stalls.”
The practice gates will be installed on the course’s sand track, providing trainers the opportunity to familiarise young horses with the process of jumping correctly from the barriers.
The new barriers will also allow up the three horses to jump simultaneously, better simulating racing realities. Previously only one practice gate had been operational.
Fellow trainers’ association member Frank Cleary said the new equipment would allow horses to be better prepared for when they hit the track on raceday.
“If you’ve got a bad barrier horse, you’re standing on egg shells before each race,” Cleary said. “At least now you can get them educated early.
“Jumping one at a time like they were before, they weren’t learning much. Now at least they’ll have a horse either side of them when they first start.”
Queanbeyan’s next race meeting will be held on Sunday, April 21.