Wangaratta Turf Club track could close for a year

Wangaratta Turf Club's track could be closed for a year.
Wangaratta Turf Club's track could be closed for a year.

WANGARATTA Turf Club’s racetrack could be closed for a large part of next year because of a major renovation.

The club is in discussions with Racing Victoria and the Victorian government about funding for the project which may see the track shut from mid-March to November.

The other option the club is considering is a staged approach to the works.

Club chief executive officer Paul Hoysted yesterday confirmed a track renovation was pending and quotes had been obtained, but nothing had been confirmed.

“It is quite a large amount of money,” he said.

“We are not discussing what we don’t know.

“It is all up in the air and nothing has been confirmed one way or the other.

“It is one option on the table.

“The other option is we do some bigger renovations over the next two years and get the same result and not be out of racing for any more than a month and a half at a time.”

Wangaratta has been allocated its meetings in the 2014-15 racing calendar including its cup meeting in March.

Country Racing Victoria chief executive Scott Whiteman was even more guarded about the Wangaratta project.

He said his organisation was looking at projects right across the state.

“Hopefully we can give you some more information shortly,” he said.

Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy confirmed the upgrade of the Wangaratta track would happen and there had been discussions with Victorian Premier and Racing Minister Denis Napthine.

Dr Napthine visited Wangaratta this week.

Wangaratta was named the premier country club in the state last year with completion of a master plan which would transform the complex into a major training and equine education centre.

If the track was closed between March and November next year the meetings scheduled for Wangaratta could be transferred to Benalla or Wodonga.

Meanwhile, Mr Hoysted has also been appointed manager at Benalla Racing Club following the recent departure of Brad Thomas, who was previously in charge at Wodonga.