Cranbourne Racecourse is set to shine as one of Australia’s premier night racing venues, with the Brumby Labor Government today announcing $4.7 million to install lighting at the popular country racecourse.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Rob Hulls said lighting project was in addition to nearly $340,000 funding for other projects at the Cranbourne Racing Centre.
Mr Hulls said the Brumby Labor Government would contribute $3.29 million to fund the installation of 38 light towers and energy efficient lights.
“Today is an historic day, not only for Cranbourne's passionate racing community, but for all Victorian racing fans, who will finally get to experience the thrill of country racing under lights at Cranbourne,” Mr Hulls said.
“Starting next season, Cranbourne is expected to host about 15 night racing meetings, complementing the well-established night racing season at Moonee Valley and offering an alternative to racing fans who don't want to travel into the city for high-quality racing.”
Mr Hulls said the new lighting system would use state-of-the-art lamp, lamp control and dimming technology to achieve the standard of track lighting required for television broadcast, which could be dimmed during meetings.
Work to install the new lights is expected to begin in December and be completed by August 2011 in time for the start of next year's peak racing season.
Visiting the Cranbourne Racing Centre today, Mr Hulls also announced the Brumby Labor Government would contribute $236,000 to help build a new starting chute for the outside grass training track at the Cranbourne Training Complex.
“Cranbourne is the largest thoroughbred training complex in the southern hemisphere, the workhorse of Victoria's world-class racing industry, and this funding will boost training facilities for the more than 600 horses that train here on a daily basis,” he said.
Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) and Country Racing Victoria (CRV) are jointly contributing $1.41 million for the new lighting at Cranbourne, and $101,000 for the new starting chute at the training complex.
Mr Hulls said the Government would also fund half of the $2500 required to install heating and cooling in the judges' and officials' towers at the racecourse, with RVL and CRV funding the remainder.
Funding for the three projects comes from the $86 million Regional Racing Infrastructure Fund, a visionary partnership between the Brumby Labor Government and the racing industry.
“Not only will Cranbourne shine as a night time country racing hotspot, but it will continue to show the way as a world-leader in thoroughbred training and development,” Mr Hulls said.
Member for Cranbourne Jude Perera said the Cranbourne racing precinct was a major source of employment and economic activity, directly generating around 750 ongoing jobs, according to a 2009 industry report.
"The new lighting at Cranbourne will not only provide a boost to the local and state-wide racing industry, but it will provide even more employment opportunities and economic benefits for Cranbourne and surrounding communities," Mr Perera said.
"Whether it is thoroughbreds, the dogs or the trots, Cranbourne lives and breathes racing.
"Today's announcement will further strengthen our international reputation as a world-class training and racing destination.”
Racing Victoria's Chief Strategy Officer Paul Bittar said the installation of 38 lighting towers at Cranbourne was an important stepping stone for the expansion of night racing in Victoria.
“Hosting night racing at Cranbourne provides us with a second night venue to complement our premier night racing at Moonee Valley and will mean that a night meeting will be held every Friday night in Victoria during the daylight savings period,” Mr Bittar said.
“This will establish night racing as a regular weekly fixture and align us with interstate and international meetings to grow interest and wagering turnover in this key timeslot.