Club’s $350k facelift

Chinchilla News - - SPORT - KAT DONAGHEY

The Chin­chilla Race Club is get­ting its big­gest facelift in 20 years thanks to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Af­ter the can­cel­la­tion of Ladies Day Races in April, the club does not have an­other event un­til Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

In the mean­time, restora­tions and ren­o­va­tions are un­der way to make the most of the down­time.

Grants have been se­cured, to­talling $350,000 for projects in­clud­ing fix­ing the sad­dle en­clo­sure, an $80,000 kitchen re­vamp and up­grad­ing the in­side and out­side run­ning rails.

“We’ve been ac­tively try­ing to get much-needed up­grades to the track and get main­te­nance done,” Chin­chilla Race Club pres­i­dent Don Critch said.

“Stay tuned.

“When things do get go­ing we hope to see many new peo­ple be­cause we’re al­ways chas­ing new mem­bers.

“It’s an ex­cit­ing time to be part of the Chin­chilla Race Club.”

Critch said the can­cel­la­tion of Ladies Day was a shame as “we rely on ev­ery bit of money com­ing in”.

The club hosts four ma­jor races each year, with the most lu­cra­tive be­ing the Christ­mas races in De­cem­ber.

“We make about 80 per cent of our money in De­cem­ber so it’s very, very im­por­tant to us,” he said.

“It’s very im­por­tant to us to have the crowd there other­wise it’s just like an­other in­dus­try-only meet­ing.”

Travel re­stric­tions caused by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic have lim­ited the dis­tance jock­eys can travel to race, and event prize­money has al­most halved.

But many in the rac­ing in­dus­try have held onto their jobs and are keep­ing on track for the fu­ture.

“It’s tough but at least we have kept some form of rac­ing go­ing,” Critch said.

He said the in­dus­try looked on track to emerge rel­a­tively un­scathed from the COVID-19 pan­demic.

“At this stage it’s look­ing pos­i­tive but who knows what could hap­pen if we have an­other out­break.”

Pic­ture: Bull Peter

RE­VAMPED: The club will re­ceive its big­gest facelift in 20 years.

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