Nearly $100,000 in funding will see the construction of new infrastructure at Melton’s Tabcorp Park to cater for the growth of Victoria’s predominant harness racing centre, Minister for Racing Denis Napthine announced today.
The Victorian Coalition Government and Harness Racing Victoria will jointly fund the works which will include an increased stabling capacity for both training and racing purposes.
The new facility will include
· 24 additional horse stalls around the secondary parade ring
· a roof for the existing wash bay
· a new 3-horse wash bay, also with roofing
· a small catching yard and gate, and
· a storage shed
Dr Napthine said the project would also allow the Bendigo Harness Racing Industry Training Centre (BHRITC) to create a satellite campus at Melton, giving students from around the state the opportunity to get hands-on experience dealing with horses at the state’s premier racing venue.
“Next season, racedays at Melton will feature 12 races instead of 10. These initiatives will cater for the additional horses, while also providing facilities for training centre students to gain experience handling our best standardbreds before and after races,” Dr Napthine said.
“The Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre is becoming increasingly popular, attracting students from right across Victoria. It has also proven to be a successful institution for developing quality people for the harness racing and breeding industry.
“This success was clear to see last month when the Centre’s own horses chalked up four winners at Victorian racetracks. This new facility will give people from Melton, Ballarat and the western region an opportunity to also benefit from the Centre’s training programs,” Dr Napthine said.
Harness Racing Victoria Chief Executive John Anderson said the BHRITC had been a real success story for harness racing and was admired by other states.
“There will be mutual benefits from the project, for students of the training centre and for industry participants on race day,” Mr Anderson said.
“Once again we thank Dr Napthine for his support in providing upgraded facilities for current and future harness racing participants.”
Chief Executive of the BHRITC John Randles said centre had been providing hands-on training for more than two decades, giving students the opportunity to learn from industry experts in real situations.
“These new facilities will further strengthen the capabilities of the centre to deliver high quality training for those aspiring to a career in the harness racing industry,” Mr Randles said.
Dr Napthine said harness racing was worth $250 million to the Victorian economy and more than 2,300 jobs across the state.
“The Coalition Government understands that it is critical to work with the industry to provide infrastructure to help train the harness racing drivers, trainers and other key participants of the future,” Dr Napthine said.
The Victorian Coalition Government is providing $49,790 of funding for the project with Harness Racing Victoria and the BHRITC jointly contributing the remaining $49,790.