David Vandyke implements horses for courses policy for Eagle Farm

David Vandyke may have lifted his ban on Eagle Farm but the Group 1-winning trainer says the much-maligned surface is still not as good to race on as others around Queensland.

As he prepares to saddle up three horses at Queensland’s racing headquarters on Saturday, Vandyke said it was a matter of selecting which runners will best suit the rock-hard surface as opposed to allowing all of his stable to run there.

In a letter to owners earlier this year Vandyke famously barred the track, saying he would not start any horses there until it improved.

Returning in April with a select bunch of horses, Vandyke’s concerns are backed up by the stats.

Striking at 15 per cent at the track, Eagle Farm is far from a happy hunting ground for Vandyke, who strikes at 26 per cent at the Sunshine Coast, 20 per cent at Doomben, 19 per cent at the Gold Coast and an incredible 34 per cent at Ipswich.

“Eagle Farm is not as good a track to race on as the other ones that I go to,” he said.

David Vandyke has an inferior strike rate at Eagle Farm compared to other tracks. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied

“I will run any horse at the Sunshine Coast but I won’t run any horse at Eagle Farm, I have to be a bit selective about what I run there because I think some horses aren’t suited by the surface.

“The reason I had a hard ban on it – I wasn’t going out in protest – it was more that my horses weren’t performing there.

“Whether it’s a track, a jockey or a breed of horse, if it’s not working I’m not going to keep doing it.

“I had a poor record at Eagle Farm and I had a good record at other tracks. My main concern was that my horses weren’t performing as well as they should be.”

Frequently a bridesmaid, Vandyke saidd Weboughtazou will relish the track in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1200m) on Saturday.

“He is a horse I felt couldn’t handle rain-affected going so I was surprised he went as well as he did in his two starts before his last one – they were on soft ground at the Sunshine Coast and Doomben,” he said.

“I was really looking forward to seeing him on a firmer surface and obviously we get that going to Eagle Farm and he didn’t let us down last start, he came from a bad barrier, he was used up early by design and he stuck on terrific.

“I think from the softer draw on Saturday he will be hard to beat.”

Originally published asVandyke’s horses for courses Eagle Farm policy

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