Ballarat’s $2.4 million uphill training track was used for the first time today since being opened by Minister for Racing Denis Napthine last Friday.
The 1,400 metre synthetic uphill track will be used to train a total of 150 horses a day in strength development.
The new track, which is located at Ballarat’s Dowling Forest Racecourse, is set to be a major asset to Victoria’s provincial racing circuit.
“Dowling Forest is one of the state’s top-tier provincial racecourses and as a major thoroughbred training centre, deserves the best infrastructure to give local trainers every opportunity to produce winning racehorses,” Dr Napthine said.
“The new straight synthetic track stretches over 1400 metres and uses the natural landscape to work its way up uphill following the topography of Mt Pisgah.
“It will provide strength training for thoroughbreds that could not be achieved on a traditional flat track and at eight metres wide it can be used for both slow and fast work.
This latest addition to the Dowling Forest training centre will accompany the existing internal sand training track.
“This unique development complements other training facilities at the Dowling Forest racecourse including the sand track internal to the main course,” Dr Napthine said.
Dr Napthine stressed the importance of the success of country racing.
“The Victorian racing industry supports more than 70,000 jobs across the state and contributes over $2 billion to the Victorian economy, more than half of which is generated in country Victoria,” Dr Napthine.
“The State Government is committed to maintaining and developing a dynamic racing industry, that ensures that Victoria continues to lead the nation, more than ever when it comes to thoroughbred racing.”
Ballarat Turf Club President Ian Fulton told of the importance of such a training track.
“Ballarat produces over 2,300 individual starters each year, the fifth-highest number in the state,” Dr Fulton said.
“It is therefore fitting that the Ballarat trainers using the Dowling Forest training centre have access to superior facilities, and opportunities to develop the strength of their horses.”
“Other features include a trainer’s box at the 1000 metre mark, pull off points at 1200 metres, 1300 metres, 1400 metres and timed distance markers every 200 metres.”
Racing Victoria Chief Operating Officer Bernard Saundry said that the State Government had contributed $2.16 million of the $2.4 million building costs.
“The uphill synthetic training track will be an invaluable asset for the Ballarat region, providing a world class all-weather training facility for 150 horses a day,” Mr Saundry said.
“Timing, communications and lighting systems have also been installed, complementing the Pro-Ride training surface.
“Investment in racing infrastructure and training facilities is important for the future of the sport and this project follows the redevelopment of the synthetic training track at the Cranbourne Training Centre.
“On behalf of Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria, I would like to thank the State Government for its support and continued investment in racing’s future, particularly in country Victoria.”