WORKS on the Bendigo Jockey Club's upgraded inside training track are nearing completion.
The $1.4 million project is being jointly funded by the Victorian Government, Bendigo Jockey Club, Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria and is likely to begin being used early October.
The upgraded training track will further enhance the reputation of the Bendigo Jockey Club as it will allow the club to expand its jump-outs and trials, as well as providing an improved facility for its 45 local trainers.
"The track is around 1850m in distance and 17m wide and also includes a new ambulance track around it for race-day so the ambulance is now closer to the course-proper, which is a lot better for safety," BJC track manager Bernard Hopkins said on Thursday.
"It's going to be a lot better surface than previously and is going to be more available through the wet and winter months.
"And a better surface relates to the horses coming to race-day in better condition."
And a better surface relates to the horses coming to race-day in better condition- Bernard Hopkins - BJC track manager
The inside track work upgrade includes a significant improvement to its cambering; lowering the inside of the turn between the 400m and 700m mark; installation of a sandy loam profile and drainage blanket; plus the laying of a predominantly rye grass surface with a small percentage of kikuyu to help with stability.
"We originally had a negative camber on the home turn, which meant the track from the home turn fell away from the middle to the outside and that outside half couldn't be used," Hopkins said.
"We were restricted to only using seven metres (width) of the original track before these works. Now we're going to be able to use the whole width of the track, which will allow us to have more trials and jump-outs."
Victorian racing minister Anthony Carbines visited the BJC on Thursday to inspect the track upgrade.
"It has been really important to develop the inside track here at Bendigo so we can provide better jump-outs and more opportunities for trainers," Carbines said.
"It's a huge industry in the Bendigo region and the upgrade of the inside track is not only a boon for Bendigo trainers who use the course frequently, but also a way of attracting more trainers here to Bendigo."
The Victorian Government provided $700,000 towards the project through its Victorian Racing Industry Fund, matching funding from Racing Victoria, Country Racing Victoria and the BJC.
"I'm pleased the government has funded upgrades at Bendigo that support our masterplan, upholding Bendigo's reputation as having one of the best racing surfaces in regional Australia and solidifying the club's long-term standing with the racing industry and the wider Bendigo community," BJC chairman Jack Lyons said.
The BJC's next meeting will be held later this month on Sunday, July 31, with an eight-race card.
The club's marquee day, the Apiam Bendigo Cup, will be held on Wednesday, October 26.
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