Moe Racecourse will benefit from a $4.5 million track redevelopment announced today by Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine.
Mr Baillieu said the racetrack at Moe had been badly affected by the invasion of poa grass, which had made the surface unsafe and unstable, a problem exacerbated by heavy rain and poor drainage.
As a result of this the Moe Cup, normally run in October, has not been held at the track since 2010 and all meetings scheduled for the 2012-13 season have been transferred to other racecourses.
“The $4.5 million redevelopment will include a new StrathAyr all-weather racetrack, a new automatic irrigation system and improved drainage,” Mr Baillieu said.
“Racing in the Gippsland region is worth more than $110 million to the economy and 1,700 jobs so this investment at Moe Racecourse to get racing back on track is crucial.
“It is expected that following the track redevelopment, racing will return in time for next October’s Moe Cup meeting allowing the local community to enjoy high class racing and all of the exciting festivities on that day,” Mr Baillieu said.
Dr Napthine said the return of racing and full training to Moe was crucial for the region and had been strongly advocated for by Narracan MP Gary Blackwood, who was instrumental in securing support.
“Last season 24 trainers operated out of Moe, all of whom contribute directly or indirectly to the creation of local jobs,” Dr Napthine said.
“The redevelopment of this track into one of the State’s best provides great potential for training numbers to increase and therefore to provide more local jobs.
“In addition, Moe’s retailers have developed a great tradition of holding a Three Hour Sale on the morning of Moe Cup Day, followed by the afternoon public holiday. This sale is a massive day for local shops,” Dr Napthine said.
Chairman of the Moe Racing Club Paul Davis said the club was extremely grateful for the support of the Coalition Government, including local member Gary Blackwood, in rebuilding the Moe racetrack.
“The Moe Racing Club has undergone some tough times in recent years, with extreme weather conditions badly affecting our racing program.
“The investment in a StrathAyr all-weather surface will ensure that Moe can have a racetrack that will serve the local community and the racing industry well into the future,” Mr Davis said.
“The racecourse will have a complete overhaul to install new drainage and replace the current racing surface with kikuyu turf track developed by StrathAyr.
“The project also includes the installation of automatic irrigation and the club is looking to install a new starting chute to allow for races over the classic 2400 metre distance,” Mr Davis said.
Gary Blackwood said he looked forward to racing’s return at Moe.
“The return of Moe Cup Day in 2013 will be a major boost for local retailers and the local racing industry, and a great day for Victorians to come and experience what our region has to offer,” Mr Blackwood said.
Costs for this project have been shared between the Victorian Government, providing $1.2 million, Moe Racing Club, providing $3.04 million and Racing Victoria, providing $260,000.
The Victorian Government’s share comes from the $79.5 million Victorian Racing Industry Fund which is dedicated to improving racing infrastructure and racecourse patron facilities across Victoria.