Prominent trainers have thrown their support behind an all-weather training track for Kembla Grange, which will be installed as a result of Racing NSW’s race fields legislation bonanza.
The Mercury understands the Illawarra Turf Club has secured funding for a Pro-Ride track at the 100-year-old venue, easing the burden on Kembla’s over-stretched training facilities.
An official announcement on Kembla’s windfall from Racing NSW’s first roll-out of the race fields legislation bonanza is expected next week.
While the much-needed injection won’t come close to Newcastle’s $11million redevelopment to the Broadmeadow track announced on Wednesday, local trainers hailed it as a step in the right direction.
‘‘It’s much needed at Kembla,’’ trainer Kerry Parker said. ‘‘Our sand track and our B grass track are very old without any upgrade or maintenance on them.
‘‘They haven’t had any money to spend on them and we definitely need a third track which will upgrade our facilities to where they should be.
‘‘When we get that consistent rain – which we can have for a week at Kembla – we can still work our horses.’’
The Pro-Ride synthetic surface has been installed at leading metropolitan courses such as Flemington and Rosehill.
Some of thoroughbred racing’s biggest players including Lloyd Williams, David Hayes and Darley have installed Pro-Ride on their private properties.
Local trainers were forced to take horses to Sydney for key track gallops earlier this year after heavy rain closed Kembla’s training facilities.
An artificial surface will negate the need for this.
‘‘I worked at Rosehill for 15 years and they’ve got the exact same track and no matter how much rain you get you can still work horses on there all morning,’’ trainer Donna Grisedale said.
‘‘You can work your horses whether you’re first on the track at four o’clock or last at seven o’clock.’’
Paul Murray, an early leader in Kembla’s champion trainer standings, said the upgrade would only benefit the 150 horses working at the course at the moment.
‘‘As many tracks as you can get is good for training,’’ he said.