Coming soon to a racetrack near you - winter rain.

Yes, we can hear the collect moans and groans.

But does it really have to be that way?

We've mentioned it previously in this column - why can't we pioneer racetrack covers to keep rain away from the precious turf that creates the boulevard of dreams except when it's knee-deep in mud.


The idea will be fanciful to some, but why? The extent of human achievement is limited only by the scope of imagination.

Cameron George created a lovely line when heannounced last week his resignation as CEO of the Auckland Racing Club to take the same position with the Warriors.

Paraphrasing, George said racing was currently paying the price for accepting that things be done the same as they always were. The big decisions were not being made.

We were the first up Everest, the first to give women the vote. We pioneered heart valve replacement, were the first in the British Empire to elect a woman mayor and the first in the world to appoint a female Anglican Bishop. John Walker was the first past the 3.50 mile mark and we were the first to split the atom.

Why can't we be the first to cover racetracks. It doesn't seem silly in cricket, why should it be silly in thoroughbred racing?

Americans don't do it because they race mainly on dirt and simply grade the track to their required depth. The English don't do it because they race on the flat only in their summer and their jumps fraternity welcome rain.

Australia doesn't need to do it because Melbourne and Perth get few badly rain-affected tracks and Queensland's wet tracks tend only to be in the south east and limited to a few windows of the year. Sydney, as we've seen in the last month, is a possibility, but wet autumns are infrequent there.

Here our weather can create devastation. The Racing Board has declared the recent abandonment of meetings has cost between $2m and $3m. So the price tag for developing track covers is not a cost, but an investment.

How? Well without an engineering degree, it could be heavy industrial plastic and covering the track from both sides, panels hydraulically moved and meeting with a slight elevation in the centre to slide the rain into drains both inside and outside the course proper.

Yes, there is an obvious point - who plays God to determine exactly when covers should be applied and what the desired official rating of the track should be for a given race day.

Gone are the days when we bred natural mud runners with sires such as Head Hunter. And any time there is an argument brewing around how and when covers be applied it should immediately be pointed out the $2m-$3m lost to the industry through a handful of abandonments.

Probably racing's greatest visionary was the late Colin Hayes, father of current Australian training giant David.

Colin Hayes said: "The future belongs to those who plan for it."

Don't they call that imagination?