As­cot favourite

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Su­sanne Reilly

A RE­PORT into the long-term fu­ture of horse rac­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Perth has rec­om­mended the in­dus­try keep the As­cot race­track and get rid of Bel­mont course.

A RE­PORT into the long-term fu­ture of horse rac­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Perth has rec­om­mended the in­dus­try keep the As­cot race­track and get rid of Bel­mont course.

Rac­ing and Wa­ger­ing WA, the gov­ern­ing body, com­mis­sioned in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tants GHD to re­view rac­ing and har­ness track fa­cil­i­ties to pro­vide a plan for the fu­ture.

The Metropoli­tan Equine As­set Re­view Task­force (MEART) re­port iden­ti­fied As­cot as a multi-pur­pose venue for train­ing, rac­ing and sta­bling.

It sug­gested As­cot was a more ef­fi­cient use of re­sources than Bel­mont Park, which was a rac­ing venue only.

It pro­posed As­cot adopt a multi-use rac­ing and train­ing track and that fa- cil­i­ties at As­cot be re­tained to pro­vide train­ing fa­cil­i­ties for own­ers, breed­ers and train­ers who re­side north or within close prox­im­ity of the city.

It also rec­om­mended As­cot’s public fa­cil­i­ties be ren­o­vated to main­tain a pre­mium, ma­jor event venue and to up­grade light­ing.

The re­port es­ti­mated the up­grade at As­cot would cost about $30 mil­lion.

GHD re­ported that Bel­mont Park would not be needed in the long-term. But it was owned by Perth Rac­ing, which had con­trol of the fa­cil­ity and had com­mit­ted to a re­de­vel­op­ment.

The re­port es­ti­mated a Bel­mont Park re­de­vel­op­ment would cost $24 mil­lion more than Perth Rac­ing’s avail­able funds.

MEART chair­man Bob Pear­son said the re­port was crit­i­cal to un­der­stand the in­dus­try’s long-term needs and vi­able fu­ture amidst a highly com­pet­i­tive wa­ger­ing, leisure and sport­ing en­ter­tain­ment mar­ket.

The rac­ing in­dus­try in Western Aus­tralia is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a de­cline in at­ten­dance, which con­trib­utes to a de­cline in on-course wa­ger­ing, a rev­enue stream for re­spec­tive race clubs.

GHD com­pleted its find­ings while bal­anc­ing the longer-term needs of the thor­ough­bred and har­ness codes against pop­u­la­tion change, rev­enue volatil­ity and po­ten­tial changes in wa­ger­ing reg­u­la­tion and in­creased com­pe­ti­tion.

The re­port said that most of the as­sets held by the clubs were over 40 years old and had the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date public at­ten­dances far in ex­cess of cur­rent at­ten­dance num­bers.

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