The new Gifford Hill Racecourse development at Murray Bridge is on track for an early 2019 opening as work commenced on the new $20 million Function Centre and Raceday Facilities Building in October.
Part of the broader $35m Gifford Hill Racecourse development, the new Gifford Hill Function Centre and a Raceday Facilities Building will be the centrepieces of the State’s newest Racecourse. It is anticipated the buildings will take around 12 months to complete, with racing set to commence at the venue in early 2019.
The $20m component of the project is being funded through an Australian Government $5 million Community Development Grant, a $5m State Government loan, and a $5m short-term commercial loan from Thoroughbred Racing SA. The remaining contribution of $5m is being made by the Burke Urban Gifford Hill group complementing the $18m already spent on the racetrack infrastructure and land purchase.
Gifford Hill is a joint venture between Burke Urban Gifford Hill Pty Ltd, the Murray Bridge Racing Club and Thoroughbred Racing SA to relocate the existing Murray Bridge Racecourse to a new facility in Gifford Hill and to re-develop the existing Racecourse site in the heart of Murray Bridge.
The Gifford Hill project is incredibly important to both the future of thoroughbred racing in South Australia as well as the City of Murray Bridge.
The project will provide South Australia with a state of the art Racecourse and equine training facility at Murray Bridge. It will also complement Adelaide’s only city course located at Morphettville. The new housing land will accommodate the demands of the steadily expanding Rural City of Murray Bridge and support the City’s growth expectations over the next 30 years.
At the announcement of the commencement of the new works, TRSA CEO Jim Watters described the announcement as ‘a pivotal day for the South Australian racing industry’.
‘It’s one of the most exciting things to happen to racing in this state and it is quite a rarity today to have a complete new Racecourse built on a ‘green fields’ site. Importantly, it’s a further indicator from the government that it recognizes and acknowledges that the racing industry is a major employer and a significant contributor to the State’s economy,’ he said.
‘We are naturally delighted with this result and extremely grateful to the Treasurer, Racing Minister and the Government for their support’.
Following a competitive tender process, Marshall Brougham have been appointed as the builders for this component of the development.
The new Gifford Hill racing and training facilities will include:
- Turf racing track 2160m in circumference with a 430M chute to accommodate a 1200m start and a 200m chute to accommodate a 1800m start, the track will be 27m wide growing to 30 m wide on the home turn and main straight.
- A 1800m inner Fibre Sand Track will also be provided for training, the profile will be fibre and sand and the track will be irrigated. This track will be 15m wide.
- A 1200m sand jog / trot track that is 6m wide
- A tunnel under the main track allowing horses easy access to the inside training tracks
- A stalls facility housing 136 horse stalls with 6 wash down bays, vet, tea rooms and amenities all under one roof
- Sand rolls
- Bull ring
- Hurdle lane / chute
The state of the art Gifford Hill Function Centre will be a sensational addition to the local community and be able to host functions with seating for up to 600 people.
Burke Urban’s Kym Burke said “People who visit the Gifford Hill site are amazed to see a state of the art racetrack, a sub-surface tunnel to enable horses to enter the centre of the track for training and a recently completed undercover raceday stalls building to cater for over 100 horses, but this latest commitment of $20m will fund the final "jewel in the crown", the Function Centre and raceday Facility."
Along with the new racing and training facilities, there will also be a brand new Training Precinct set up at Gifford Hill which will incorporate up to 60 equine community title allotments for owners to live and train horses.
This location ensures that the horse trainers and stabling areas are conveniently and safely linked to the new training track and raceday stalls via the tunnel.
The average allotment size will be approximately 5000m2 and the estate will be linked to the new Gifford Hill Racecourse by an internal bridle path system which allows for horses to make their way to the new racing centre without crossing any roads.
The Gifford Hill Racecourse Masterplan includes an area set aside for a proposed horse swimming pool, on course stabling and a site that will allow an equine clinic to be developed. Pricing for the allotments is expected to be in the range from the low to mid $200’000’s subject to the size of the allotment and proximity of the allotment to the tunnel and other training infrastructure.
The Murray Bridge Racing Club is currently taking expressions of interest from any trainers interested in moving to the new Gifford Hill Racecourse and Training Precinct.
Click here to register your interest or for more information please sign up to the Gilford Hill Racecourse Development mailing list.