Horsham racecourse will receive a key upgrade to its irrigation system to help produce top quality racing surfaces throughout the spring and summer.
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said the Horsham and District Racing Club would receive $25,000 for a new irrigation pump and power upgrade, to help the efficient pumping of water from the wetlands to the racetrack.
"The irrigation upgrade at Horsham racetrack was identified as a high priority for the club when its old system showed limitations in how much water it could pump from the central holding tank," Mr Delahunty said.
"Proper irrigation means the club can maintain a safe and consistent racing surface, which is vital for good racing, but more importantly for the protection of horses and jockeys.
"As Horsham holds its biggest race meetings during the spring and summer, particularly the Horsham Cup and Santa Day race meetings
,an efficient irrigation system will protect the track from dry conditions."Dr Napthine said the Victorian Coalition Government would provide $12,500 towards the project with Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria matching that contribution.
"The Coalition Government is a strong supporter of country racing and is committed to assisting the Wimmera's racing clubs, across all three codes, with infrastructure and patron facilities.
"Racing is worth more than $34 million to the Wimmera economy on an annual basis and employs close to 600 people. We understand that it is vital to ensure the Horsham and District Club's racing surface is safe and of good quality in order to protect and grow the local industry," Dr Napthine said.
Horsham and District Racing Club President Karen Thomas said the club was delighted to receive funding to upgrade the irrigation system and drought proof the track, adding that all work would be carried out by local suppliers.
"Upgrading the pump will allow for increased water efficiency as the current system is cumbersome. This especially impacts the track condition during extreme heat conditions as experienced earlier this year in February," Ms Thomas said.
"The integrity of the track is paramount to our club. Irrigating the track adequately and in a manner that conserves water will ensure the safe conduct of all track activities."
Country Racing Victoria CEO Scott Whiteman said this announcement was wonderful news for the Horsham & District Racing Club and for racing in the Wimmera region.
"This funding will ensure that the club is able to present its track with sufficient give to ensure a safe surface. It will also enable the club to make optimum use of the available water and assist the Racecourse Manager to use his time more effectively in the lead up to the Club's major events," Mr Whiteman said.