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Seymour Racing Club masterplan released

Big plans to turn Seymour into a major thoroughbred training centre.

CHALPAT SONTI May 15, 2014 3:58am

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The first sod has been turned in a $12.4million plan that will hopefully one day turn Seymour into a major racehorse training centre.

State Member for Seymour Cindy McLeish did the honours at the racecourse last week, on the site near the 1600m chute where a new equine swimming pool will be built.

The $55000 pool — cost shared between Seymour Racing Club and the Victorian Government — is the first project in the long-awaited racecourse masterplan.

That document — developed at a cost of $65000 and funded by the club, government, Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria — was released on Friday.

It provides for some major changes apart from the pool including (with estimated total costs in brackets):

Up to 160 stable boxes in eight stable blocks (sited at the trotting track area) to turn Seymour into a regional horse training hub ($3.3million), with The Pines block on Kobyboyn Rd a pilot to gauge interest in further facilities ($190000).

Widening the track from 18m to 23-25m, adding a potential three to four horses per field and giving the club much more ‘‘usable’’ track to help with course management ($5.4million);

Building a new all-weather synthetic training track on the existing sand track and reversing the process for the existing synthetic track ($3.5million);

New jog track, jumps schooling chute and barrier/gate education chute ($140000);

Building an ambulance track ($180000), automatic site access gates ($20000), kangaroo fencing ($120000), new day yards ($324000), new walking track ($160000), landscaping screen between racecourse and stable and day yard area ($6000) and new supervisors hut ($20000);

The elements of a ‘‘horse gymnasium’’ including the pool with upgrades in future years, water walker, treadmill and new bullring ($1.1million); and

Stabling area car park and internal access roads ($404940).

The masterplan, available to view on the Seymour Racing Club website, also contains recommended stages of work, starting with subdivision of The Pines, top up of the synthetic track, bullring and kangaroo fencing.

The masterplan would enhance the training aspect of racing in an area which is already Victoria’s premier breeding ground. At present about 40 trainers use the facility for about 200 horses.

‘‘Seymour is perfectly positioned,’’ Ms McLeish said.

‘‘There’s some really great opportunities not just for the racing club but the whole town of Seymour.’’

Premier Denis Napthine said the government was committed to helping country racing clubs such as Seymour.

The racing industry is worth at least $729million to the state’s rural and regional economy, including $227million annually locally.

Racing club president — and former trainer — Steve Clifton said the pool was ‘‘hopefully the first step towards bigger things for Seymour Racing Club to becoming an major country training facility’’.

The club was thankful to Ms McLeish for pushing its case for assistance with the swimming pool.

‘‘Without government assistance we couldn’t afford to build this facility on our own,’’ he said.

‘‘I know it puts Seymour-trained horses on a level playing field with city trainers.’’

Club chief executive — and trainer — Penny Reeve estimated the pool could be built within six to eight weeks, depending on the weather.

‘‘Trainers have been hanging out for this (masterplan),’’ she said.

‘‘It’s been a long time coming but we’re pretty close to being there.’’

Racing Victoria chief executive Bernard Saundry said his organisation would work with the club to implement key projects within the plan and ‘‘help Seymour secure its place as one of the state’s major regional racing and training centres’’.

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