Queensland Racing has received a needed boost on the eve of the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap after the Queensland government signed off on a $22 million overhaul for Eagle Farm.
There has been plenty of speculation in the last 12 months that the much-maligned Eagle Farm turf track would be reconstructed and The Courier Mail confirmed this morning that Queensland’s feature racing venue would receive a complete renovation.
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls, who represents the electorate that encompasses both Eagles Farm and Doomben, said that the overhaul, which will begin in August, was much needed and would provide a boost to the entire Queensland economy.
“This will stimulate wagering growth on the venue, which provides more funding for the industry as a whole, and will get more patrons to the track for race days,” Nicholls said.
“In 2013 the Brisbane Racing Carnival contributed more than $6 million to the Queensland economy and with the upgrade due to be unveiled ahead of the Carnival next year we’re looking forward to seeing that contribution grow.”
The Brisbane Racing Club released a master plan for the redevelopment of both Eagle Farm and Doomben in 2011, which they believe will a create a world class racing and mixed-use urban precinct that can be enjoyed by racegoers and non-racegoers alike, and Racing Queensland Chairman Kevin Dixon said that the rejuvenation of the Eagle Farm track was a key part of that vision.
“Eagle Farm is the most important asset in racing and this project will give the industry confidence that our flagship racecourse has the best racing surface in Queensland,” Dixon said.
The overhaul of the Eagle Farm track, which will be part of the $110 million industry infrastructure plan, will include new drainage and irrigation facilities for the track as well as new fencing, running rails and timing equipment.
Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club are hopeful that the overhaul will be completed in time for the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Srikandi ($5) is a narrow favourite for win the final Stradbroke Handicap before the overhaul of the Eagle Farm track, but there has also been plenty of support for Hucklebuck ($5.50), Spirit Of Boom ($7.50) and Knoydart ($8).