Eagle Farm trainer Chris Anderson behind a trial of later training times in Brisbane
Brisbane trainers will have the option of later starting times under a two-month trial period negotiated by Eagle Farm conditioner Chris Anderson who believes it could be a “game changer” for the racing industry.
A day after Group 1 winning Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke stepped up his crusade for later starting times for trainers, Anderson has revealed details of a plan he hatched to cut back on long working hours.
The Eagle Farm dirt training track currently closes at 8am but the Brisbane Racing Club has agreed to Anderson’s proposal to leave it open until 8.30-8.45am.
However it means far more than saving just an extra 30-45 minutes in Anderson’s working day and that of fellow trainers, staff and track riders.
The training track is currently closed in the mornings for 40 minutes between 5.20am and 6am so it can be re-harrowed with a tractor.
The later closing times in the trial period, to kick off on August 1, will mean Anderson can now start working his horses at 6am after the training track reopens.
Anderson, who has three teenagers including twin daughters, says it will make a huge difference in his life and that of his staff.
“This could be a complete game changer,” Anderson said.
“Some of my staff have been doing cartwheels.
“I have been in negotiations with the BRC on this for probably six months, I have been like a dog with a bone about it.
“I have a young family and it is important for me and for them to be there as much as I can.
“This extension to the track’s opening hours will mean we don’t need our riders to have a break halfway through and we can just consistently keep working our horses through.
“My riders will now be able to start at 6am and my ground staff will start at 5am.
“Normally my riders start at 4am and my ground staff start at 3am.
“It gives us so much more of our lives back.
“With the way things are at the moment, I can’t start at 5am because there is no point in working one horse and then the track shuts down for 40 minutes to be re-harrowed.
“The push back of the track closing time will mean we can start working our horses at 6am and get all our horses worked in time prior to the track shutting.”
Trainer Chris Anderson with rugby league legend Allan Langer. Picture: Tara CroserSource:News Corp Australia
There is no one-size fits all approach to the issue of start times in the racing industry because different tracks around Australia are governed by different restrictions and closing times.
David Vandyke went on the front foot to Racenet earlier this week, saying there needed to be change in the industry.
“I am always tired and I am sick of being always tired,” he said.
“I will win a race and all I want to do is go home and fall asleep.”
Vandyke’s stance was met with support from many including Golden Slipper winning trainer Richard Freedman who tweeted: “Go your hardest David. I agree with you but it’s hard to change people who don’t want to be changed. Lots still want to get up in the middle of the night and live a lesser life.”
Trainer Richard Freedman. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
While trainers have different views depending on who you ask, Anderson points out that the trial period at Eagle Farm only increases flexibility and does not restrict trainers who still want to start earlier.
“What I have negotiated is that the track still opens at the same time every morning, so it is not disadvantaging anybody who wants to start early,” Anderson said.
“But there is also going to be an option now for people to start later if they want to.”
Chris Anderson (right). Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Originally published as“Complete game changer’’ – racing club agrees to trial later start times
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