Tracks manager John Ridley moved yesterday to deflect mounting criticism of the decision to use the narrow C plus three metres course for Sunday's important San Miguel Silver Tankard meeting. Ridley said: 'The San Miguel meeting happens to fall in the middle of some of our very important racing dates in January and it is a question of something having to give. 'The Sha Tin track at the moment is in very good shape but that is largely because the rail has been constantly moved around to protect the surface,' he stressed. The tracks chief said that New Year's Day and the big Lunar New Year meeting on January 30 were two of the biggest and most popular days in the calendar. The New Year's Day meeting was followed by a Sunday meeting four days later which placed great pressure on the inside tracks. 'I tend not to differentiate between the A track and A plus one or two metres. Moving the rail out a couple of metres only protects a fairly small part of the track,' said Ridley, who also stated that the 11-day break in racing between Sunday's San Miguel day and the Lunar New Year meeting was not enough to have a major bearing on the state of the track. 'It is very difficult to please everyone when there are important Group One and Two races plus sponsors' days. Frankly, a sponsor is going to find it difficult to get an A track now in January - it is a very hectic period. 'It was different last year because of the dates of the Lunar New Year period,' he said. Ridley stressed that, while the track was in good condition, it would be difficult for it to take 20 races over two days on the same course - or a course only marginally altered. 'The straight is in good shape but it is the turns that take the most wear and tear and full fields in that number of races does a lot of damage to the track,' he said. Some trainers have been critical of the decision to race on the narrow course because Sunday is a major meeting and there is a feeling that the current state of the track would permit racing on at least the B Course or B plus two or three metres. It will be the 19th renewal of the sponsored Silver Tankard on Sunday and it is understood that San Miguel will be informed of the reasons for the big day being held on what is considered a minor track. Ridley was one of a quartet of officials involved in a meeting with trainers yesterday over the future of 124 watchmen employed in the stables complex. The two-hour meeting did not resolve the issue which centred round the need to have the watchmen on duty. Said Ridley: 'We are looking at an area of operation which has not been assessed since 1986. We wanted the views of the trainers and some of them are perturbed about it. 'I will be talking to them individually later,' he added. It is the positions that are at stake rather than the men's jobs as they do other work in the stables. 'It is a question of value for money, as it often is,' said Ridley. Two more apprentices have cancelled their indentures and will begin their new jobs as work riders this morning. Jim C. H. Wong, who was indentured to the Jockey Club and attached to the stable of trainer David Hayes, copped a three-meeting ban for incompetent riding last Wednesday and yesterday decided his future did not lie in race-riding. He will continue with Hayes as a riding boy. Angus C. M. Au, who has one career winner , also quit and will continue as a work rider with Derek Cruz.