As part of an ongoing priority to deliver first-class racing infrastructure Racing Queensland has announced new synthetic tracks for the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Turf Clubs.
The new tracks form part of the newly government-approved RQ Infrastructure Plan.
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said an industry consultation process was under way and will include site visits to Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania to inspect several racing and training tracks.
“Industry engagement is vital and feedback from Queensland trainers and jockeys will be critical in the selection of synthetic track surfaces,” Mr Parnell said.
A tender process will then commence to establish the preferred track surface. The next priority will be to replace the Sunshine Coast’s cushion track, with the Gold Coast track to be installed as part of its overall track re-build project.
The synthetic tracks in Queensland will be used primarily for training and trialing but will also have a limited racing program during the wetter months and during renovation windows for major tracks.
Mr Parnell said synthetic track technology had improved significantly in recent years and is broadly used for racing and training around the world, with regular racing held in Singapore, UK, USA and Australia.
“There have been Saturdays where both the Brisbane and Gold Coast meetings have been abandoned due to wet weather, costing the industry $1 million in revenue,” Mr Parnell said.
“Having a synthetic surface for emergency back-up will greatly assist the industry during major wet-weather events.”
Gold Coast Turf Club CEO Steve Lines said: “The synthetic track has always been a part of our overall Racing Infrastructure upgrade and will be a welcome addition to the club’s busy training facilities.”
“The addition of a new synthetic track is exciting news for the Gold Coast Turf Club and will be of great benefit to the more than 450 horses trained here,” Mr Lines said.
“The existing facilities withstand a heavy workload including weekly jump-outs or trials and regular racing. The new cushion track will help manage this workload and ensure the club maintains its reputation as one of Queensland’s premier training facilities.”
Sunshine Coast Turf Club CEO John Miller also welcomed the news of a new synthetic track for his club, with the existing surface unsuitable for racing.
“We look forward to working with Racing Queensland to select the right materials for the new synthetic surface to ensure it is of the highest quality for training and racing,” Mr Miller said.