So the Irish trainer Dermot Weld says he’s not bringing Profound Beauty to Australia for the Melbourne Cup because our tracks are too hard.

“Prepared magnificently for the race, she is in great order,” says the statement from Molglare Stud in Co. Kildare, “but concerns remained as regards the damage done the previous year to her joints.

“With the statistical chances high that the ground would again be hard this year, and following recent veterinary consultation, it was decided that to ask the mare to race again on ground that clearly does not suit her might be a bridge too far.

“And with regret the decision was made not to travel to Melbourne in 2009.”

Weld has previously voiced his concerns about the Flemington track being too hard but it has not stopped him twice winning the Big Cup with Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle in 2002.

I backed Profound Beauty in the Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh (it’s Irish for racecourse by the way) when she was red hot favourite but she tanked to finish fourth on an ironically heavy track.

The Irish mare was Melbourne Cup favourite at the time but sank to the third line after that shocker. Punters who had more than $100,000 riding on her have now done their dough cold.

There are softer options to be found in the Lindsay Maxsted Review of the Holy Trinity of the three metropolitan racing clubs — the VRC, MRC and MVRC.

Maxsted recommends the VRC gobble up (“merge with” were the actual words he used) the MVRC to become the “powerhouse” club north of the Yarra. That the Gentlemen at Headquarters would feel the need to mix with the vulgar hoi polloi from the Valley even before they could be considered a powerhouse club is an outrageous suggestion which we quite like.

The two clubs had their first “information sharing process” meeting under the Maxsted Review on 1 October. This means either they lifted their skirts at the same time or they swabbed each others precious bodily fluids. We won’t know till December.

It’s the same in Sydney where the aristocrats from the AJC will soon have to bunk down with the proletarians from the Sydney Turf Club. Surprisingly, it’s all about property development or, as Lindsay says, “the metropolitan clubs must make better use of their capital resources.”

The VRC has recently taken up the management rights (in partnership with Tabcorp) to the huge TAB Agency, at Southern Cross Station, in the heart of Melbourne. With Tabcorp’s Victorian totalisator wagering license up for grabs in 2012, this is an interesting development. The industry also wants Tabcorp and the corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges to cough up more doe for putting on the show (they call it product). QED.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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