Track is in perfect condition: Oliver

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 November, 2008, 12:00am

A commendation from champion jockey Damien Oliver and a powerful message of support for Flemington racecourse manager Mick Goodie from his chairman, Rod Fitzroy, represented a quick and painless end to the Irish campaign to douse the track overnight.

Owner Derrick Smith and trainer Aidan O'Brien have conducted open media calls for the track to be made 'safe', which would be a slow track by Australian standards.

But after receiving an unequivocal show of support from his chairman and a big wrap from Oliver (pictured), Goodie said the track would be the same as the one which was widely lauded as 'perfect' on Saturday.

Fitzroy said he did not take the Smith-O'Brien threat - that they might withdraw Septimus if the ground was 'not safe' - too seriously, adding that he has 'full faith' in Goodie to present the right surface.

'I've spoken to a lot of the internationals and not one has expressed any great concerns,' Fitzroy said.

'I don't think it's an issue. No one knows the Flemington track like Mick Goodie. We [the VRC committee] won't interfere with industry policy [on track preparation].'

Oliver came up to Goodie after the 10-race meeting on Derby day and congratulated him, and his team, on the condition of the famous racecourse.

'Damien congratulated me on a great surface, that we had done a sensational job,' Goodie revealed, adding he did not hear of any runners jarring up on the (good) track on Saturday and the feedback from jockeys had all been positive.

He also added that the 'perfect Irish track' would be an insult to him and his 61-strong staff.

'I've got a great group of blokes who put their heart and soul into the track to make it perfect,' Goodie said.

'Can you imagine if we created slow tracks to suit Europeans?

'I've got a duty to every person in Australia to prepare this track as the local policy says.

'To change that for one day of the year would be completely irrational.'

Goodie said the 'new Flemington', which was completely relaid after the 2006 Melbourne Cup, drained well to race between yielding and slow without rain.

The course manager also promised he would be guided by the weather bureau, his experience and his instincts in preparing today's track.