Cranbourne has become a leading harness racing training hub with the official opening of the innovative $1.5 million Cranbourne Harness Racing Training Centre today.
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine officially opened the new training and stabling complex accompanied by representatives from Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club (CHRC) and the City of Casey.
Dr Napthine said the unique training facility was made possible through a $918,000 grant from the Victorian Coalition Government and would provide an innovative horse harness training solution.
"The new Cranbourne Harness Racing Training Centre is a unique addition to the Victorian harness racing industry, helping to reduce the cost of starting out in the industry by providing new trainers with an opportunity to lease a number of boxes rather than purchase their own," Dr Napthine said.
"This facility can accommodate up to 48 horses, with the potential to grow in the future. The influx of new trainers to the facility will boost jobs in the local area with extra business for feed merchants, vets, farriers and drivers.
"Harness racing is undergoing a renewal in Victoria including big crowds at country cup meetings, the return of racing to many country tracks and new measures to internationalise feature races. I expect that this new facility will help to deliver further positive results for the industry.
"In fact, despite only a handful of horses already on site, the new training facility has already produced two wins with Stylish Jasper, trained by Viv Tomren and Charlie Wootton, recently taking the spoils at Tabcorp Park Melton and Cranbourne," Dr Napthine said.
Set over 2.5 hectares, professional and hobby trainers can work together in the communal facility with access to a state-of-the-art 48 barn-stabling complex, each with its own day yard. The stables directly link to the Cranbourne harness racing track and also to 1.2 kilometres of bridle paths.
The complex features major advancements in horse training with two new specially constructed sand training tracks, a 1,200 metre jogging track, a 600 metre track for slow work, an eight horse walking machine, horse pool and a lunging area.
CHRC Chief Executive David Scott said the club was indebted to the Coalition Government and HRV for their support of this project.
"Our club believes that the creation of an industry owned and operated facility such as this will provide a sustainable operating model for trainers into the future and importantly, offers a vital entry point for our next generation of participants to make their mark on harness racing," Mr Scott said.
"At the same time, this project promises to secure the future of harness racing in the south-eastern region of the state and as a club we are proud to have been involved in its creation."
HRV Chairman Mr Ken Latta congratulated the club for bringing this project to fruition.
"With support from the Coalition Government and HRV, the club has been able to deliver an outstanding training centre which will assist in the development of the sport in the region. This project is a model that we would like to see replicated elsewhere in Victoria," Mr Latta said.
The Coalition Government provided $918,307 to the project with HRV and CHRC jointly providing $636,693. The City of Casey also provided $20,000 for perimeter fencing.