Victoria Minister for Racing Martin Pakula
Racing Returns To Birchip With Top New Facilities
Victor P Taffa
Harness racing will return to Birchip for the first time in more than a decade this weekend, thanks to support from the Andrews Government.
“We’re proud to be supporting this historic event at Birchip which will see harness racing returning to the town after an 11 year hiatus.” Minister for Racing Martin Pakula said.
“Victorians looking for a long weekend away should head to the Mallee for a fantastic day of country racing.”
Labour Day long weekend race meeting this Sunday, 12 March, marks the first time that the Birchip Pacing Cup has been held at the Hunter Park Raceway since 2005.
The event will showcase $150,000 worth of upgrades completed earlier this year in preparation for the track reopening, as well as support for the event to provide entertainment and activities for racegoers.
“Resurgence of harness racing in the Mallee will help to generate jobs, boost the local economy and attract valuable tourism to the region.” Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said.
A newly constructed undercover shelter will ensure patrons can enjoy all the action on the track regardless of the weather. The judges and stewards’ tower and public amenities have also received a much needed facelift.
“We’re incredibly grateful to the Government for its support in helping harness racing to return to Birchip.” Birchip Harness Racing Club President Max Dillion said.
“Funding we received has ensured that our track and grounds are in peak condition for the event.”
As part of the refurbishments, the track has been re-graded to ensure a safe and smooth racing surface that now brings it in line with industry standards.
Live music will help entertain patrons, while children will be kept amused with a range of activities including:
- Jumping castle,
- Rock climbing wall,
- Face painting,
- Pony rides.
Free shuttle buses from Ballarat, Bendigo and Swan Hill will provide racegoers with a safe trip to and from the track.
State Government is contributing more than $73,000 towards the initiatives, courtesy of its Victorian Racing Industry Fund and Raceday Attraction Program. Harness Racing Victoria is providing almost $5,000.
Birchip Harness Racing Club is contributing more than $29,000 and the Mallee Root Club is contributing $30,000. More than $10,000 is also being provided through in-kind support.
Racing industry in the Mallee region generates more than $58 Million annually for the Victorian economy and helps sustain more than 570 full-time equivalent jobs.