ALBURY Council has joined the fight to secure more than $1 million from Racing NSW for an upgrade of Albury racecourse.
Mayor Kevin Mack will join Albury Racing Club chief executive John Miller at a meeting in Sydney today with Racing NSW chief Peter V’Landys about the track upgrade.
The Albury Gold Cup is the city’s biggest annual event and has had a half-day holiday since 2002.
But its poor drainage means the Albury track is susceptible to washouts with less than 20 millimetres of rain, with a funding boost to also remedy an antiquated and labor intensive irrigation system.
The club has dodged a bullet with wet weather in the lead-up to the last two gold cup meetings, but late last month a meeting was called off after only 15 millimetres.
Last night Cr Mack said the council wanted to emphasise racing’s importance to Albury.
“We need to get Albury higher up the list for funding,” he said.
“It is our job to advocate on behalf of the club.
“Hopefully we can get some clear picture of the way forward for this much-needed upgrade.”
In 2010, Albury had hoped to tap into $70 million put aside by Racing NSW to improve tracks and training facilities.
Cr Mack said a gold cup washout would be a massive blow to the city.
“It is a critical event for Albury,” he said.
“It is one of our major events, if not our major annual event.
“It brings a lot of money into Albury and we can’t continue playing Russian roulette with the weather.
“We will use whatever is at our disposal to convince him (V’Landys) it is a worthwhile project.”
If successful in obtaining funding, the track could be off-limits for an extended period for resident trainers including Brett Cavanough, Kym Davison and Kevin Hanley.
The Wagga Gold Cup was not held in 1994 as Murrumbidgee Turf Club underwent a major upgrade of its track.
Wagga had $500,000 of drainage works on its track earlier this year courtesy of support from Racing NSW.