Following the success of the artificial surface at Geelong, several Victorian country race clubs have made submissions to have their courses ripped up and replaced with synthetic tracks.
Rob Hines, Racing Victoria’s chief executive, said there were “at least a half a dozen options” for new synthetic tracks across the state.
Hines continued stating that if a new track were to be installed it would need to be near the bulk of the horse population and also be a training centre.
Hines didn’t rule out the option of an inside synthetic track similar to the one at Geelong being built at either Flemington or Caulfield, but if one were to be installed in the country, the synthetic track would replace the course proper.
“Depending on where we might put this second track, there may be only five or 10 meetings scheduled on the synthetic a year and it might be home for 10 to 20 transferred meetings as required.
“There are at least half a dozen options where this could go but we want a full size synthetic track”.
A proposal for a new synthetic track would be submitted to the Racing Victoria board and infrastructure committee as early as next March.
After a review of the Geelong synthetic track was conducted, it found that the overall performance of the track was “very good” in terms of turnover, field sizes and feedback from the trainers and jockeys.
Betting turnover, which is central to the sport, was 20 per cent higher than on the corresponding turf meetings a year earlier.
“The track provided an even surface, consistency of form and really encouraged punting”, Racing Victoria’s chief strategy officer Paul Bittar said.
Written by Isaac Chaplin