Millions of dollars are committed annually by Racing Victoria and Race clubs, using their own funds and via grants sourced from the Government’s Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF), to improving existing and constructing new racing and training tracks at our metropolitan, provincial and country racing centres.
The ATA spends a significant amount of time engaging with the Race clubs, the trainers at the various training centres, and RV, about track ‘needs and wants’. It is often an elongated process, as new / major track upgrade works are typically expensive, so are subject to a thorough due diligence process that invariably involves much consultation before there is a commitment to proceed.
It is however, such a vital part of the training and racing landscape, that we are always happy to commit the time and effort to this process. Equally, it is so worthwhile when we see the fruits of our labour.
An overview of some prominent track activities - both current and those in planning - follows:
CURRENT WORKS include:
The ATA was central to the discussions that resulted in Pakenham RC & RV jointly undertaking a comprehensive refurbishment of the 2,000m synthetic track recently. This saw new binder and fibre added to the existing track-mix, together with a ‘churn’ of the racing surface (from top down to the base) to ensure an even spread of the sand, binder & fibre throughout.
With work completed last month, trialling is underway on the upgraded surface. It is expected this remedial work will lead to a consistently even racing surface being presented to participants for this synthetic racing season (May to Sept 18).
The new $1.3m sand fibre track, replacing the old sand track, is nearing completion.
This is the third such sand fibre track installed in Victoria in the last 12 months, following Warrnambool & Seymour. Sand fibre is said to be a “forgiving” surface for the horses, helping to significantly reduce the instance of joint and tendon problems.
With a circumference of some 1,600m and width of 8m, this will be a welcome all-weather training addition for the trainers based at this NE Victorian Training Centre.
COMMITTED WORKS set to commence include:
The recent RV announcement nominating Ballarat as its preferred centre for the state’s second synthetic track will lead to significant works at the course in the last quarter (Nov) of 2018.
Works include construction of the new 1,909m purpose designed synthetic track, including two chutes, together with modifications to the existing grass course proper increasing this to a total circumference of 2,448m, to allow the precinct to accommodate the twin race track configuration.
As a result, Ballarat will close as a racing centre between December 2018 and
mid-March 2019 (a total of 15 weeks), before it returns to racing on the 2019 Labour Day weekend.
Preliminary establishment works are underway with construction activities imminent, as the circa 1,600m sand track, which has reached the end of its lifespan, is stripped and enjoys an $800,000+ rebulid with the addition of new material and services.
PRELIMINARY PLANNING at a number of venues includes:
The 1,700m sand training track at Benalla, the subject of a major upgrade in 2008, has again reached the end of its natural life. The ATA, RV and the Benalla Racing Club are working together to determine the best and most cost effective method of upgrade, including ways to move this project from ‘planning to construction’ in 2018.
An upgrade of the course proper is in the planning stage. This rebuild will focus on redressing the negative camber issues, tight turns and look to create better drainage around the 1,735m circumference of the racetrack.
As a result, Kilmore will close as a racing centre between December 2018 and August 2019.
With Ballarat securing the State’s new synthetic racetrack, the current 1,858m track at Geelong will host its last race late in September 2018.
The design and preference of replacement race and training track facilities is yet to be finalised, with a number of options being considered, and input on those options sought by RV from local trainers, the Geelong Racing Club and ATA at this time.