Gawler and Barossa Jockey Club's game-changing $495,000 equine pool was today officially unveiled by Racing Minister Corey Wingard.
The pool was funded via $2.5 million set aside for 10 projects across SA as part of the State Government’s $24 million racing-industry stimulus package, announced last year.
The straight-line pool is 60m long, 3m wide by 3m deep, and makes Gawler the only SA training facility outside of Morphettville to boast such a facility. In addition to giving local trainers an edge, it is tipped to be a financial winner for the club, attracting additional trainers to the region and allowing participants in other equine fields to use it.
After being tested in recent weeks, the new facility is now operational, and is one of the first projects to be completed under the stimulus package.
The Gawler course will undergo further development in the coming months, when a second project – a new $216,000 on-course stabling facility – is constructed.
Gawler and Barossa Jockey Club CEO Shane Collins said in addition to aiding local thoroughbred racehorse trainers, the pool would give the club an extra income source and help ensure its sustainability.
“We have a very strong harness racing community in Gawler and plenty of equestrian participants in the area and they will all get the chance to use the pool,” he said.
“There have already been inquiries from those respective communities, plus the equine college at Roseworthy isn’t far away and they’ve spoken to us about using the facility as well.
“That was the key to it: making sure it becomes available for other parts of the community.”
However, the major immediate winners from the new pool will be local trainers, who suddenly have a state-of-the-art facility at their disposal.
“The pool gives our trainers a lot more scope and opportunities to train and rehabilitate their horses to help improve their business,” Mr Collins said.
“A key factor in our future planning as a club is making sure that our trainers have support and high-class facilities so their business can grow. This will in turn reflect positively on our overall business structure and future, and will hopefully – in time – attract more trainers to Gawler.”
Mr Collins said before deciding on the pool’s design the club conducted plenty of research, including speaking to leading racehorse trainers Phillip Stokes and Tony McEvoy.
Work on the stable block is tipped to commence later in the year and once complete the new facilities will combine to make Gawler one of the most convenient places to train horses in the state.
Other projects targeted for State Government funding under the $2.5 million set aside for special projects include:
- On-course stabling at Morphettville ($500,000)
- Uphill sand training track at Murray Bridge ($505,000)
- Tie-up, vet and swabbing stalls at Port Lincoln ($192,000)
- Stabling and facility upgrade at Strathalbyn ($210,000)
- Racing surface refurbishment at Port Augusta ($105,000)
- Function centre and kitchen upgrade at Oakbank ($119,000)
- Club complex refurbishment at Clare ($30,450)