SOUTH-west trainers will be chasing a slice of an extra $45,000 in prizemoney after a Warrnambool Racing Club January meeting was upgraded.
The club, which has three meetings scheduled next month, was to host a Tuesday meeting on January 29. But track works at Geelong forced Racing Victoria to move a more lucrative Thursday meeting from Geelong to Warrnambool.
Under the move, Warrnambool will race on Thursday, January 31, instead of the Tuesday, with racing on January 29 being moved to Murtoa.
Warrnambool Racing Club chief executive officer John Green said the move to a Thursday meeting was a bonus not only for the club but for south-west trainers.
A Thursday meeting meant bigger crowds and betting turnover compared with a Tuesday, he said.
“It’s a good bonus. It means local trainers can race for more prizemoney,” he said.
“We are always trying to chip away and try to get a bit of extra prizemoney for the local trainers.
“Rather than waste a good day on a synthetic track, they allocated it to us.”
Green said the club was excited about the meeting after last Thursday’s Port Fairy Cup day attracted 1100 patrons and increased wagering from last year’s event.
The date change comes as the club prepares to host the traditional Woodford Cup meeting on December 30, the Koroit Cup on January 6 and a Tuesday meeting on January 15.
The club is set to launch into a $400,000 upgrade of the course’s irrigation system next month as it reduces the salinity of water supplies.
Racing Minister and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine said the Baillieu Government was providing $200,000 towards the project which would ensure a high quality track surface year-round.
A new pump station and new pumps will be added and pipes will be replaced under the initiative.
Napthine said the upgrades would make track maintenance more efficient while improving safety for jockeys and horses.
“The completion of this irrigation project means that a sufficient rate of water can be applied to the track when irrigating,” he said.
“The stage two works will complement earlier works that allowed for better movement of water between the off-course and on-course dam.
“This second stage will help that water to be easily delivered where it is needed, when it is needed.”
The Baillieu Government has provided $200,000 through the Victoria Racing Industry Fund and Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria are jointly providing $100,000.
Warrnambool Racing Club is also contributing $100,000.