Rockhampton Jockey Club chief executive Denis Cox oversees the laying of turf on Callaghan Park’s new racecourse.
Rockhampton Jockey Club chief executive Denis Cox oversees the laying of turf on Callaghan Park’s new racecourse. MEGAN LEWIS Ml

First turf placed for new surface

RACING: The long-awaited new Callaghan Park grass track in Rockhampton is one step closer after the first strips of turf were laid along the back straight near the 1200 metres point on Thursday night.

Contractors expect it will take about three weeks for the 2000 metres circumference of the track to be completed with the cover of Winter Green couch.

Because of more suitable climatic conditions they plan to lay the grass during the cooler temperatures after dark with the track to be lit under powerful mobile lighting.

Originally it was planned to have the grass track in operation early next month, but this was delayed when extra time was required to revamp the new sand training and racing track, which at first proved an abject failure as a venue for race meetings.

Consequently, the timetable for the first meeting on the new turf track was rescheduled to January 8, but this must now be in serious doubt given that the track will not be completely grassed until less than a month before this date.

Rockhampton Jockey Club (RJC) chief executive Denis Cox said he was very pleased to see the grass being put into place.

“It will be wonderful when the new grass track is fully operational,” Cox said.

The refurbishment of the two tracks at Callaghan Park has been funded by Queensland Racing Limited with the original cost reported to be $6 million.

The precarious placement of the winner and place-getters stalls at Callaghan Park’s parade enclosure, which has rightly borne the brunt of criticism, is finally going to be addressed within coming weeks.

“They are to be moved to a more suitably placed position for safety reasons,” Cox said.

Meanwhile, Rockhampton’s star galloper Gobou, engaged in the Country Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm today, arrived safely at his Glasshouse Mountains stopover early yesterday morning.

“He travelled down through the night with his mate, Grand Mark, who will run at the Sunshine Coast tomorrow. Apparently he (Gobou) did a fair bit of kicking along the way as he hasn’t had a big float trip away before. He is still a bit of a handful, but the main thing is he arrived safely,” owner Margaret Garland said late yesterday.

Rockhampton trainer Lyle Wright will start recent multiple Capricornia winners Long Road To Glory (3YO Hcp, 1200m – Eagle Farm) and No Name (3YO Class 3900m – Gold Coast) today.

Boom Central Queensland-owned sprinter Alesprit will start a long odds-on favourite in the race being contested by No Name.



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