Multi-million dollar Kembla Grange plan to be abandoned


Kembla Grange's chances of hosting the multi-million quarantine station complex set to cater for international horses for The Championships have all-but been dashed.

The Punt has learned concerns about the soil profile of an adjoining parcel of land and its susceptibility to flooding have forced Racing NSW to look elsewhere.

Hawkesbury and Goulburn are now understood to be the preferred sites. Goulburn is considered the perfect location given its vast land available next to the track, but its distance from Sydney is a stumbling block.

Kembla was considered an early frontrunner for the quarantine station given its proximity to Sydney and accessibility for overseas trainers to a spacious track set to embark on a massive makeover later this year.

Powerbrokers saw massive potential at the historic racecourse, which will have a second racing surface and fast work sand track installed later this year.

Discussions were well advanced about acquiring adjacent land to construct the quarantine station, but have now stalled.

It's thought sulfuric acid in the soil would have required any construction on the property to be higher than the current ground level. Estimates suggest an extra $5 million to $6 million would have been added to building costs as a result.

There were also concerns about the damage heavy rain could cause to an area which is deemed flood prone.

Forecasts were for an extra 250-300 boxes to be included alongside the quarantine station, opening up the possibility of Kembla becoming a much sought-after training facility.

Other pods, set to stable up to a dozen horses at a time, were to be scattered alongside the outskirts of the track for horses in quarantine.

However, the plans appear to be shelved. The Punt has been told Kembla will only be considered now as an absolute last resort.

Only two internationally-trained gallopers, Japanese mare Hana's Goal and Irish sprinter-miler Gordon Lord Byron, will be in Sydney for next month's The Championships.

But this number is set to swell in coming years as overseas trainers target the cashed-up Sydney autumn carnival with further notice.

The announcement about this year's The Championships only came in mid-November, hampering efforts to lure overseas horses to next month's carnival. More than $18 million in prizemoney will be on offer at Randwick on April 12 and April 19.

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