Sandown abandoned after one race

Safety concerns have prompted jockeys not to ride at Sandown after an incident in the first race.

The remainder of Wednesday’s meeting was abandoned and, apart from one race, will not be rescheduled after jockeys voted not to go out for the second race despite remedial work being done on the section of the track causing concern.

The $1.85 favourite Gridelin slipped rounding the home turn in The Grand Hotel Frankston Handicap and was lucky to stay on her feet.

The Godolphin filly, ridden by Craig Williams, finished second to Dwayne Dunn’s mount Perfectly Safe, putting Dunn within one win of Williams in the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership.

Williams was confident he could win on Gridelin which would have increased his lead to three in the premiership.

“I had Dwayne outside of me and she was still on the bridle,” Williams said.

“When she nearly fell over I thought I just want to get home to my four children and my wife.”

Racing Victoria stewards ordered the track to be aerated from the 800m mark into the straight after finding skid marks at different points.

Jockeys were not satisfied and after a secret ballot with the count at six-all, the meeting was abandoned.

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Presiding steward Robert Cram said the track walked closer to a soft 5 than a good 4 after 2mm of rain overnight.

“After walking the track prior to the meeting I personally didn’t think slipping would be a problem as did the riders that walked the track,” Cram said.

Dunn thought under the new secret voting policy introduced last year the meeting may have continued.

“Sometimes the presence of Damien Oliver or Craig Williams can have an effect on the vote of an apprentice or someone not used to riding on these sorts of tracks,” Dunn said.

Dunn had a solid book of rides on Wednesday and was confident he could eat into Williams’ premiership lead.

Melbourne Racing Club chief executive Brodie Arnhold said the rail would be moved out two metres for next Wednesday’s meeting to which the 1200m 3YO Benchmark 70 has been added.

“The track is in sensational condition but a couple of mils of rain made the top a little bit slippery, but once they aerated it I think it was OK,” Arnhold said.

“Fair enough the jockeys weren’t 100 per cent comfortable and decided to call the meeting off.”

Gold Coast and Belmont in Perth remained as the only race meetings in Australia on Wednesday after Sandown was called off following wash-outs at Warwick Farm in Sydney and Murray Bridge in South Australia.

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