A new $9 million synthetic racetrack will be built in Ballarat with the first race expected to be run in 2019.
Racing Victoria announced the project on Thursday morning with Ballarat beating bids from both the Geelong and Kilmore racing clubs for the new track.
The Ballarat all-weather circuit is expected to span just over 1900m and will replace the club’s current inner grass track.
A Racing Victoria statement said that Ballarat will become the states second synthetic track, alongside Pakenham, with the current Geelong synthetic track to be phased out.
“As a result of today’s decision, it is planned that synthetic racing will conclude at Geelong in September 2018 following the winter racing season. It is RV’s desire to transition the track to an inner turf track which will host year-round training and a select number of race meetings.” The RV statement read.
Jamie McGuinness, Executive General Manager – Infrastructure and Club Support, said that a third synthetic track in Victoria wasn’t supported by their business case.
“The Ballarat, Kilmore and Geelong clubs have been directly advised of our decision today and we will now work with them on delivering the necessary infrastructure support to help meet the racing and training needs of their local participants and the broader industry.” McGuinness said.
“Whilst we’re aware that some stakeholders were seeking a third synthetic track, the business case did not support it. Not only would there be an initial outlay of approximately $8 million to build a third track, the industry is committed to spending over $6 million every eight to 10 years to replace the surface of each synthetic track.
“The message also remained clear from trainers that their strong preference is for turf racing. We currently conduct 8% of our meetings on synthetic tracks and we feel that is the appropriate number to ensure that all meetings can be conducted during winter, whilst allowing us to best manage the workload on our turf tracks throughout the wetter months.”
Work on the new Ballarat track will commence after the Ballarat Cup meeting in November 2018 with a view to commencing racing in May 2019.
Thrilled to confirm we will be racing on a new synthetic racetrack in 2019 after the announcement from @Blood1971 this morning. Massive boost for Racing in Ballarat and the local community generally.#ballarattrainers pic.twitter.com/3kh0TILUwf
— Sportsbet-Ballarat (@BallTurfClub) February 21, 2018