Kembla Grange in box seat as quarantine centre

HORSE RACING

Kembla Grange is in the box seat to house a new quarantine centre fit for overseas runners, with Racing NSW close to finalising the decision on the facility's location.

In what shapes as a boon for racing in the region, the centre would allow elite international horses the chance to begin their preparations in the Illawarra.

Some money for the centre has already been put aside from $10 million in government funding for The Championships in the autumn.

Speaking at the Illawarra Turf Club on Tuesday, Racing NSW chairman Paul Messara said they were looking to address the state's lack of a premier quarantine facility "sooner rather than later", with visiting raiders currently forced to travel through Victoria.

He endorsed any potential move to the region as a "positive" one.

"I think it is important that NSW have independence in terms of quarantine and so we are looking strongly around the place to see if we can find an adequate bit of dirt that we can build a quarantine station on," Messara said.

"The Illawarra, this track is a great track and is going to be an even greater track when the works take place here over the next year or so, and therefore this would be a positive move for us.

"But our eyes are open in terms of other provincial tracks as well. Access here is good, it is a wonderful facility, so if we can find something locally that works we will certainly be moving in that direction."

Illawarra Turf Club chairman Barry Vandenbergh was adamant there were "several" sites in the region capable of sustaining such a centre.

"It is under investigation with some possible sites but they have to be examined to make sure that we meet all the rules and regulations," he said.

"As you can imagine they are fairly onerous as they have to be for this sort of thing.

"If the suitable site is secured, I am quite sure you will see a very good quarantine centre down here somewhere."

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