An exciting future lies ahead for Ballarat’s Morshead Park following the official opening of the new $3.2 million greyhound racetrack and grandstand redevelopment.
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine joined Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club to open the new world class racing and dining venue and take the multi-million dollar local industry into the future.
Dr Napthine said redevelopment of the racetrack was the primary focus of the project, which includes cutting-edge on-course technology and new fencing, as well as the renovation of the grandstand and judges tower.
“Over the past 34 years, the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club has grown more and more popular with racegoers and trainers alike, in particular its feature race meetings, the Ballarat Cup and the Western Derby,” Dr Napthine said.
“The transformation of the club is a timely recognition of its very busy weekly racing, trialing schedule and the major contribution it makes to Victoria’s $200 million greyhound racing and training industry.
“Together the Victorian Coalition Government, GRV and the Club have invested $3.2 million to create the safest, fastest possible track with high quality Burrumbeet sand; a new lure system, split timing and semaphore board; new lighting and fencing; and a water saving irrigation system.
“The grandstand and function centre has been transformed to a much more modern venue for patrons and staff. There is also an upgraded judges’ tower, on-course broadcast studio and environmentally friendly features such as recycled water.
“Importantly, the new function centre is also a great new facility for use by the local community and will provide new opportunities for the Club,” Dr Napthine said.
GRV Chairman Peter Caillard thanked the Coalition Government for providing a major financial contribution to an important GRV project, one that helped shore up the sport’s infrastructure.
“Greyhound racing has a rich history in Ballarat, with the sport first being conducted in the town in 1935 and at Morshead Park since 1978,” Mr Caillard said.
“This upgrade brings Ballarat greyhound racing into the modern era, with the venue now comparable to any racetrack in the world.”
Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club President Peter Desmond thanked GRV and the Coalition Government for their generous financial contribution towards the upgrade of what he believes is now the best greyhound track in Australia.
“Trainers and punters love greyhound racing at Ballarat, and thanks to the contractors who worked on the project, the new track is absolutely awesome,” Mr Desmond said.
“Also, with our brand new entrance and our canteen being transformed into our fabulous new Strides Restaurant, the club has been transformed from a tin shed into a function centre.”
Costs for this project have been shared, with the Coalition Government providing $1.35 million, GRV contributing $1.7 million and the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club contributing a further $150,000.
“By making major investment in facilities such as Ballarat’s new greyhound racetrack and patrons’ facilities, we can help grow racing, and importantly, also increase the economic benefits arising from racing,” Dr Napthine said.