Finally on the road to a major upgrade
A MULTI-MILLION dollar upgrade to help cement Wangaratta Turf Club as one of the state’s premier racing venues is ploughing ahead.
Roadworks to create a new public entrance to the racecourse off Cruse Street are under way, and weather permitting, will be completed in time for the club’s Melbourne Cup Day race meeting.
Old stables at the northern end of the racecourse have been demolished and the first of a twostaged new stable block, with 36 boxes at the southern end of the course, are to start within weeks.
“Stage one is to be completed by Christmas, with the final stage to start early next year and be done by April, ” club chief executive officer Paul Hoysted said this week.
“Having all the stables and horses at the southern end and moving our public entrance to the northern end makes it a lot safer and convenient for everyone.
“And the new stables will also facilitate an additional trainer... we’ve got around 250 horses in work from Wangaratta at present, with 120 using our track daily, and we’re forecasting that to rise to 160.”
The upgrade will also see construction of a combined multi-use function centre and racecourse grandstand where the old grandstand used to be, as well as an onsite 20-bed accommodation facility for equine students.
Mr Hoysted said work on the three storey grandstand and multipurpose function centre will begin after the Melbourne Cup race day and should take around six months to complete.
“The lower ground function centre will cater for over 400 people while there will also be room to cater for 100 people at the rear for the grandstand seating,” he said.
“Construction of the accommodation facility will begin in December and we’re looking to take enrolment into the equine education courses mid next year.”
Mr Hoysted said the works marked an exciting phase for the club, building on the first stage of works which rebuilt the track, improved irrigation and put in an equine swimming pool.
“We’ve been talking about the project for three to four years, so to finally see action is terrific,” he said.
“It will be great for our club, for racing and the wider community.
“One of the really important things for us is that this whole project, worth close to $7 million, has created the equivalent of 34 full time jobs,” he said.
“Of the works, 85 per cent has gone to businesses in the Rural City of Wangaratta, with the remainder in regional Victoria.”
Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria), who inspected on-site works with Mr Hoysted on Wednesday, said the project would help consolidate the economic and social importance of racing, and its shared facilities, within the community.
The racing industry in the Ovens-Murray region, which takes in Wangaratta, generates more than $39 million in economic activity and sustains almost 350 full-time jobs.
We’ve been talking about the project for three to four years, so to finally see action is terrific.
INSPECTING THE WORKS: Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) and Wangaratta Turf Club CEO Paul Hoysted were happy to see construction works on the new public entrance to the racecourse off Cruse Street well under way this week.