Newcastle’s Broadmeadow racecourse has been temporarily shut down for racing, effective immediately, so urgent remedial work can be conducted on the troubled track.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys sent a team of experts, including chief steward Ray Murrihy, to inspect the surface on Thursday following concerns raised by jockeys that it was unsafe for racing.
While the team of experts came away with differing views on what action should be taken, V’landys decided to close the track in the interests of safety.
“The opinion was divided in relation to the track but I decided to err on the side of caution and shut the track down until rectification work is done,” he said.
“I’m not prepared to take any risks, with the jockeys’ safety or with that of the horses.
“I appreciate the club will suffer some losses but to me, safety is paramount.”
V’landys said the problems with the Broadmeadow track had been identified to industry officials some time ago and related to uneven sections of ground.
While local jockeys were aware of the issues and took the “necessary precautions”, visiting riders found the track harder to navigate safely.
“There are corrugations in the track and horses can lose their footing or dip from it,” V’landys said.
There are seven meetings scheduled for Newcastle before the end of the year, with the next due to be run on Saturday week.
Venue changes for Newcastle’s scheduled meetings over the next eight weeks will be announced on Friday.
V’landys said they hoped the rectification work would be completed by mid-December to allow a meeting to be held at Newcastle prior to one of the club’s biggest afternoons of the year on Boxing Day.