Randwick re-opens after five months
Caryl Williamson
06:16 AEST Tue Apr 2 2013

There is still much to be done, but the promise of what will be had racegoers enthusiastic about the future of Randwick.

A partial opening of the incomplete facilities on Monday drew a restricted crowd of 3359 with amenities given a test run before the Australian Derby meeting on April 13.

The theatre of the horse, a parade area behind the stand, proved popular as did the indoor betting ring on the ground floor, all of which are part of a $150 million refurbishment.

The new stand and parade ring have been modelled on Ascot in England and and Hong Kong's Sha Tin.

Australian Turf Club chief executive Darren Pearce said it had been a positive experience.

"There are things to be ironed out but we needed to have this day with live customers to get the gremlins out," Pearce said.

"It's been an important learning experience.

"Most of the problems have been operational.

"We have had nothing but positive comments about the food outlets which is encouraging."

With no racing held at Randwick for five months, the track was given its first work-out since Melbourne Cup day and the honour of winning the first race went to the Scott Aspery-trained Just A Girl.

Aspery said the filly would head to the Listed P J Bell (1200m) on April 17 after she came from near last to beat Straturbo by a half head and claim her third successive win.

"It's fantastic to win the first race back at Randwick," Aspery said.

"She keeps stepping up.

"I always said she would be a Saturday class horse but she could be better than that.

"We'll give her a try at the Listed race now."

Gerald Ryan's decision to bypass Saturday's Pago Pago Stakes with two-year-old Zaba Zaba Doo proved fruitful with the colt scoring a tough debut win over 1200 metres.

He held off King's Tariff by a half neck to and will now be assessed for a possible step up in class, if not in Sydney then during the Brisbane winter carnival.

Stablemates Divertire and Any Day Will Do will head to the Adrian Knox Stakes after running first and third in the 1800m race for three-year-olds fillies.

Trainer Guy Walter was pleased with the pair of promising stayers.

"I thought they both went well and we will test them in the Adrian Knox," he said.

The Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) is among the support races on Derby day.

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