Meeting decides racing's future

A CRUCIAL meeting at Callaghan Park racecourse tonight between the hierarchy of Queensland Racing Limited (QRL) and the Rockhampton Jockey Club (RJC) will be instrumental in determining the future status of racing in Central Queensland.

QRL, which has already invested $6.5 million in building a world class grass racing surface at Callaghan Park, has plans to inject massive additional funds into a broad spectrum of amenities there on the basis of a joint venture with the RJC.

In return, it is believed QRL would expect to enter into a mutual arrangement with the RJC for joint ownership of Callaghan Park.

At tonight’s meeting on the eve of the grand opening of the new track through a gala eight race TAB card tomorrow boasting over 100 race starters, QRL chairman Bob Bentley and racing manager Paul Brennan will put the governing body of racing’s case.

“What we have in mind will ensure Rockhampton racing has a real place in the sun for the future. We are looking at making Rockhampton a major racing centre for the future. It is all positive for the industry, stakeholders and RJC members”, chairman Bentley said yesterday.

QRL’s plans include transforming, through major works and enhancement, Rockhampton’s on-course amenities for members and the public as well as additional stabling which expectedly would bring an influx of trainers, jockeys and horses to Callaghan Park.

Accordingly, this would not only benefit the economy of Rockhampton but place the RJC in an enviable position whereby it may host weekly race meetings with the majority gaining TAB exposure Australia wide.

RJC chairman Justin Doyle indicated his committee was open minded at this stage but was anxious to hear in full the QRL’s proposal tonight.

“In the end it will be a decision for the RJC members (350 in number). We will present a non-opinionated case to the members at some later date which will be put forward by an independent person presenting both sides of the case. Therefore it will not be a biased view. It is a fairly complicated transaction”, Doyle said.

Bentley said QRL was not “twisting the RJC’s arm” but it is also known if RJC members reject QRL’s proposal, the massive funds proposed will be spent for the betterment of racing at another centre. He said it was “first in best dressed”.

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