Queensland Minister for Racing Steve Dickson
Toowoomba Turf Club To Restore Grass Track Racing
Victor P Taffa
Racing Minister Steve Dickson has welcomed an overwhelming decision from the Toowoomba Turf Club (TTC) who voted last night to return to grass track racing at their club.
Mr. Dickson said the 200 to one vote was a sign of how important turf racing was to the TTC, which had seen steep declines on both wagering turnover and the number of horses fielded for races since switching to a synthetic track in 2007.
“The Newman Government is committed to giving industry members a real say in their future, and that’s what we’ve seen with this decision from the Toowoomba Turf Club.” Mr. Dickson said.
“We can now get on with the job of rebuilding the turf track, and I’m looking forward to seeing industry members and punters return to the club as provincial racing in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs is rejuvenated.”
“Country and regional racing is the lifeblood of the industry in Queensland, and we are taking the steps needed to protect and reinvigorate clubs like the TTC.”
“This initiative is another way the Newman Government is working to restore confidence in the 30,000 strong racing sector, delivering solutions which are driven from within the industry itself.”
Wagering turnover on racing in Toowoomba has decreased by 24.8 % in the last two years, while the number of horses racing there declined by 7 % in the last year.
The number of runners provided at race meetings across Queensland from the Toowoomba training centre has also declined by 14 % between 2007 and 2012.
“It’s plain to see from these trends that the synthetic track simply wasn’t working for the TTC. Participants didn’t want to use it and punters didn’t want to bet on it.” Mr. Dickson said.
“The decision from the club to go back to grass racing is a great step towards a bright new future for racing in the region.”
Mr. Dickson said the restoration of the turf track would now be funded through the Newman Government’s promised $110 Million Racing Industry Capital Development Scheme.