Albury Racing Club $1.2 million track upgrade still to be fully completed

ALBURY Racing Club has been forced to forgo a second meeting this month as its redeveloped track remains off-limits following an ongoing $1.2 million upgrade.

STOPPED IN TRACKS: Albury Racing Club chief executive Mick Wighton is hoping racing will resume on September 15 after losing a second meeting in August.

STOPPED IN TRACKS: Albury Racing Club chief executive Mick Wighton is hoping racing will resume on September 15 after losing a second meeting in August.

The latest meeting scheduled for August 22 at Albury has been transferred to Leeton by Racing NSW following a switch of an August 1 meeting to Wagga.

There is still no guarantee the next meeting on September 15 will go ahead.

The Albury Gold Cup carnival’s two meetings in March have been the only racing held on the track since the refurbishment started in June last year.

But the installation of drainage on the section between the 1600m and 700m wasn’t completed before the track was given the all-clear for the carnival.

The grass cover hasn’t sufficiently grown over where the slit drainage has been installed since the cup carnival.

“We need some warmer weather,” ARC chief executive Mick Wighton he said.

“It is disappointing, but the track has to be spot on by the time we get on it.

“It has recovered dramatically in the last couple of weeks.

“We’re obviously looking forward to that September date and the spring carnival beyond.”

Mr Wighton said trainers would be able to resume trackwork on the course proper shortly after being restricted to the sand.

Southern District Racing Association chief steward John Davidson inspected the Albury track on Monday.

“It is getting there, but ever so slowly without growing weather,” he said.

“Once we get a bit of heat into the ground it will take off pretty quick.

“But we’re in a holding pattern at the moment because clearly it is not safe to race.”

Following the September 15 meeting, the spring carnival will move into full swing with meetings scheduled for October 14 and 28 with meetings also programmed for Melbourne Cup day and Oaks Day two days later.

There are also two meetings in December, January and February before cup carnival in March.

The track upgrade will safeguard the club from future meeting cancellations due to wet weather.

Potentially disastrous Gold Cup meeting washouts have been avoided in recent years.