Gold Coast Turf Club Proposes Night Racing

By: Sarah Fortnum
August 3rd, 2011
Moonee Valley Night Racing

Night Racing at Moonee Valley has proved to be a success

Committee members at the Gold Coast Racecourse are currently in talks with Racing Queensland (RQL) as the Club pushes to become a hub of night racing.

The talk’s come after Gold Coast Turf Club’s (GCTC) former chairman Andrew Eggleston resigned from his position after losing the support of the board.

The Club will be under the administration of acting chairman Brett Cook until elections are held in October.

One group that will be attempting to secure the leadership role is headed by former Moonee Valley Race Club (MVRC) committeeman Christopher Stear.

Mr Stear is hoping to implement the night racing schedule that Moonee Valley finds so successful to the Gold Coast.

“Following talks with Racing Queensland late last week we are confident we will be able to build a sound business case for the introduction of night racing at the Coast if we are elected,” Mr Stear said.

Mr Stear’s nine-person group, which is known as the Members Winning Ticket, believes night racing would provide the club with a new revenue stream.

“It is our intention to develop a sponsored night racing series that races simultaneously with Moonee Valley Racing Club,” Mr Stear said.

“We have begun preliminary talks with Moonee Valley and our proposal has received enthusiastic feedback and the promise of significant future co-operation.

“The overall economic impact of such a series will benefit the Coast as a whole and revenue to the club will increase through both catering and wagering.”

Mr Stear believes that the introduction of night racing would pave the way for the Gold Coast Racecourse to be recognised as a metropolitan track.

“We have a club in one of the world’s best locations – the Gold Coast is a natural for night racing,” he said.

Racing Queensland (RQL) chairman Bob Bentley said a strong case would need to be made by Mr Stear’s group to convince them to go ahead with night racing at the Gold Coast.

“While I believe that the Gold Coast would be an ideal venue for night racing, the numbers have to be convincing given we already have two night venues operating in Queensland,” Mr Bentley said.

“Night racing on the Gold Coast would be expensive to run costing $7 million just to install lights.

“It’s a great idea but it would depend on a comprehensive business plan. RQL won’t rule anything in or out until we see such a plan.”

Mr Bentley said that extra prize money could not be allocated to help sustain the proposed night racing.

“Any business plan put forward would have to take into account that there wouldn’t be any extra meetings, RQL financial assistance or extra prize money,” Mr Bentley said.

“That means there would be no Saturday meetings on the weeks when they wanted to race on Friday nights.

“Night racing has its issues as a betting medium and any new committee at the GCTC would need to mount a compelling case to convince RQL that night racing on the Gold Coast was feasible.”

Mr Bentley said he would ensure that whatever change was made, if any, would be beneficial to all three codes of racing in Queensland.

“You can be rest assured that the RQL board will not be making any sudden decision in relation to this proposal and we remind clubs that they need to work within existing frameworks so RQL can keep the playing field fair,” he said.

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