$5 Million Upgrade will see Racing Return to Werribee / Victoria / 12 Feb, 2010

A $5 million upgrade to the Werribee racecourse will make Werribee the premier destination for international raiders and allow the return of racing to the track in December, Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Rob Hulls announced today.

Mr Hulls inspected the site for the new $1.4 million International Horse Quarantine Centre at Werribee and said, along with a $5 million upgrade of the track’s surface and new plastic running rails, it would provide excellent resources for trainers and horses once completed.

“Victoria’s racing industry is renowned for its success, innovation and the high level hospitality it provides for all overseas competitors who visit this state for its premier races,” he said.

“These upgrades will make Werribee the ideal place for international owners and trainers to quarantine their horses when they stay in Victoria as it will offer a high standard training track and new stabling facilities.”

Member for Tarneit Tim Pallas said the local community was looking forward to racing returning to Werribee following the $5 million upgrade.

“Werribee’s upgrade will offer great race day facilities for local trainers and horses once meetings recommence here in December, with the new track capable of hosting up to 10 race meetings a year with a capacity field of 14,” Mr Pallas said.

The track reconstruction will enable races over eight distances and trials over 800 metres, allow training during quarantine centre operations between September and November, and include comprehensive track drainage and an upgraded irrigation system.

“An ambulance track has also been constructed as part of the upgrade at Werribee, which further enhances the safety features of this racecourse,” Mr Pallas said.

Mr Hulls said the upgrade of the racecourse surface at Werribee was on track to be completed before international raiders arrived for the 2010 Spring Racing Carnival.

Through the $86 million Regional Racing Infrastructure Fund jointly funded with industry, the Brumby Labor Government is contributing $2.5 million to upgrade the racing surface and $1.12 million for the new quarantine centre. Racing Victoria Limited and Country Racing Victoria have provided $2.5 million for the racetrack and $280,000 towards the quarantine centre.

Mr Hulls said Werribee would also receive $76,000 from the Government and industry for 1962 metres of new plastic running rails.

He said Werribee was the third of 25 clubs to have new plastic running rails installed as part of a $2.3 million state-wide roll-out launched this week which will provide the safest conditions for jockeys and horses anywhere in Australia.

“This Victorian designed and manufactured product to be installed at tracks across the state will further enhance the racing industry’s worldwide reputation as a leader in safety and innovation,” Mr Hulls said.

Racing Victoria Limited chief operating officer Bernard Saundry said the upgraded racetrack and plastic running rails would significantly enhance the safety and appeal of racing at Werribee, while the International Horse Quarantine Centre would be a key industry asset.

“The state-of-the-art quarantine centre will be critical in attracting international participation in Victoria’s feature thoroughbred races, particularly during the Spring Racing Carnival, and will indeed put Werribee on the world racing map,” Mr Saundry said.

“The upgraded track will provide a first class racing surface not just for the international horses, but for the conduct of race meetings and we are looking forward to the return of racing to Werribee next season.