Elwick track redevelopment update
After experiencing delays in obtaining critical information from specialist contractors, and therefore passing the date on which replacement grass would need to have been planted off-site to meet the proposed 2018 construction commencement date, the Tasracing Board has agreed to not commence the Elwick track redevelopment works until 2019.
As has been noted previously, the course proper profile is inconsistent and susceptible to both drought conditions and rainfall events, making its management very difficult.
The capital investment – and the work – required for the track’s redevelopment is significant. With this in mind, the Board was not prepared to risk proceeding with the project that had the potential to deliver a sub-standard result in the current timeframes.
A new set of milestones has been established and agreed to by the Board:
- Consultant selection and appointment – December 2017.
- Tasracing and consultant finalise detailed preliminary designs – February 2018.
- Project tender released – March 2018.
- Contract awarded – June 2018.
- Contractor starts to grow grass off-site – July / August 2018.
- Construction commences – March 2019.
Tasracing remains committed to the reconstruction of the course proper, to ensuring the work undertaken will deliver a superior redeveloped track with a long-life span and to ensuring the best outcome possible with the least disruption for stakeholders.
Direct communication and consultation with industry will continue between now and when construction commences, immediately after the running of the 2019 Hobart Cup.
Options discussed at the initial industry meeting (including the redevelopment of the course proper, the inner Derwent Track and both tracks) will be explored further with industry representatives.
Yabby Dam Racing Australian Drivers’ Championship
By any measure, the recent Yabby Dam Racing Australian Drivers’ Championship in Hobart was a great success.
As those who followed the meeting would know, Victorian driver Chris Alford won the title by 14 points from Western Australia’s Chris Lewis and New South Wales’ Chris Geary.
Tasracing, which jointly hosted the event with the Tasmanian Pacing Club and Harness Racing Australia, was particularly pleased that we were able to secure the Saturday night time slot for the meeting on Sky 1, and deliver Tasmanian harness racing to a national prime-time audience.
Securing this scheduling once again demonstrates the importance of the close working relationship we have established with Tabcorp / Sky Channel.
Luxbet Gold Cup story
The six heats of the Luxbet Gold Cup that showcase the best greyhounds currently racing in Tasmania were held at Elwick last night (Thursday 2 November).
The winner of each heat and the two fastest second-placed greyhounds will compete in the final on 9 November.
While a formal market is yet to be set, Cosmic Heir, starting from box seven, will likely start favourite. He started favourite in his heat which he won comfortably by 4.5 lengths.
The Luxbet Gold Cup is the traditional lead-up race to the Group 1 Hobart Thousand. From this series, greyhounds move into the Hobart 1000 prelude on 7 December and then into the heats the following week (14 December) and the final on 21 December.
In positive news for the broader racing industry, wagering turnover has continued strongly in 2017/18 to date, with 8.8% growth achieved in the first quarter.
It follows good growth achieved last year of 8.6% as noted in the Annual Report.
Thoroughbred turnover for the first quarter was slightly down on last year (just under one percent) due to some weather-affected meetings. In contrast, turnover for the month of September was up 17.6% compared to last year, which looks good for the rest of the year.
Harness racing turnover increased by 11.7% for the first quarter, with field sizes increasing by 9% compared to last year.
Greyhound racing turnover in the first quarter was up by 15.5% after a relatively quiet year last year.
After many months of planning, Tasracing is set to restructure its racing department to deliver efficiencies in our operations across the three codes of racing.
Specific details of what the restructure looks like will be announced as it is finalised.