Country race clubs hit paydirt

Country race clubs hit paydirt

Horses
MONEY MONEY MONEY: The historic Birdsvlle races are in for some funding to pay for safety fencing.

MONEY MONEY MONEY: The historic Birdsvlle races are in for some funding to pay for safety fencing.

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Millions of dollars doled out to finance upgrades at dozens of country racetracks in rural Queensland.

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THIRTY-seven country clubs from Mareeba in the far north to Betoota in the south west will share State Government grants worth $2.8 million.

The funding for some of Queensland's smallest and remote race clubs is part of a broader, six-year commitment to country racing, which has another two years to run.

Money will be shared across clubs in eight regions - Capricornia, Central West, Downs, Eastern Downs, Far North, Leichardt, North West, South East - for 51 enhancement projects.

In the Capricornia region work will get under way at Bluff Blackwater Amateur Race Club (perimeter fencing for float area, refurbish tie up stalls, PA system), Clermont Race Club (rear boundary fence replacement), Emerald Jockey Club (irrigation upgrade - stage 2, tie up stalls, verti drain, racecourse mower, track fertilising and spray equipment), Gladstone Turf Club (culvert repairs) and Yeppoon Turf Club (chute upgrade).

The big winner in the region is the Emerald Jockey Club with $470,000 heading its way for the assorted projects.

Bluff Blackwater Amateur RC will receive nearly $200,000, Yeppoon Turf Club gets $40,000 and Clermont Race Club $10,000 in comparison.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the funds would be welcomed, adding: "Racing is part of our region's economy as well as community life, especially in some of our smaller and more isolated towns."

Work projects in the Central West include a track upgrade for the Alpha Jockey Club, Aramac Racing Club get a firewall for shed development, Barcaldine Racing Club (judges tower), Barcoo Amateur Race Club (tractor), Betoota Race Club (jockey room upgrade), Birdsville Race Club (horse walkway and safety fencing), Jundah Race Club (jockey room upgrade), Muttaburra Amateur Turf Club (power upgrade), Longreach Jockey Club (running rail replacement, culvert and drainage work - 1400-metre section of track, animal safe thoroughfare from stabling area to track, tie up stall extension).

In the Downs region the Central Warrego Race Club will receive funding for an upgrade to the course proper upgrade and the jockeys room at Noorama Picnic Race Club will be improved.

Clubs in the Eastern Downs region to secure grants for assorted projects include Bell Race Club (float park perimeter fencing and additional starting barrier padding), Chinchilla Race Club (tie up stalls and wash bay), Dawson Jockey Club (barrier padding), Goondiwindi Race Club (race caller and photo finish tower), Miles & District Amateur Picnic Race Club (barrier padding) and Oakey & District Race Club (track base upgrade from the 1200m to 800m).

Far North regional clubs pencilled for support are the Atherton Turf Club (holding yard and home stretch fencing), Mareeba Turf Club (multi-purpose ablutions block for disabled access/trainers, replacement course mower and replacement of guttering on tie up stalls) and Oak Park Race Club (outside running rail).

In Leichardt region the Burdekin Race Club will secure a new wash down area, Ewan Amateur Turf Club gets additional tie up stalls and wash down bay, Herbert River Jockey Club will have upgrades to water supply to jockey rooms, wash down bays and buildings and investigations to locate and or secure water for irrigation will proceed and Oakley Amateur Picnic Race Club will have an outside running rail installed.

Boulia Turf Club (refurbishment of barriers) and Cloncurry & District Race Club (running rail replacement) and North West region clubs to get support.

In the South East Bundaberg Race Club's track will be upgraded, Eidsvold Race Club will have upgrades to its electricity supply and work will also happen at Gayndah Jockey Club (amenity upgrades), Gympie Turf Club (two stewards stands), Monto Race Club (stewards and jockeys room upgrades and safety equipment upgrade) and Mt. Perry Race Club (perimeter fencing of float carpark).

It is understood the track upgrade in Bundaberg will cost more than $380,000 and Monto will receive more than $145,000 for safety equipment and for an upgrade of rooms for stewards and jockeys.

Gayndah will get $20,000 for amenity upgrades, Eidsvold nearly $3000 for a power upgrade and Mount Perry Race Club almost $4000 to fence its horse float carpark.

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith welcomed the financial boost for Bundaberg, Eidsvold, Monto and Mount Perry Race Clubs and the Gayndah Jockey Club each of which lie within the South East region.

"Apart from supporting local clubs and improving facilities for trainers, jockeys, owners and racegoers, these grants will generate work for local tradies in these communities," he said.

Queensland's Racing Minister Grace Grace said: "The Country Racing Program provides critical infrastructure funding across the state to improve and enhance non-TAB racing clubs and their communities.

"It provides security and continuity to the country racing community up to 2023 by funding race meetings, prize money and racing infrastructure, repairs and maintenance."

The story Country race clubs hit paydirt first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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