THE community has to embrace horse racing at Towac Park for Racing NSW to pour more funds into the facility beyond the $1.3 million it has committed for track upgrades, according to Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys.
Several councillors suggested Racing NSW should be pouring more funds into the racecourse, when they agreed to commit $400,000 in cash and in-kind work over four years to the track, last week.
Mr V’landys said Orange had unlimited potential for racing, thanks to the impressive Racing Orange committee including its chair Ellie Brown, but more funds and TAB meetings would hinge on community support.
“We’re using Orange as a bit of a test case,” he said.
“The most important thing is getting people to embrace racing in Orange. If they do, we’ll continue to support it.
“If the Orange club keeps progressing at the rate it has we’ll keep investing funds.”
Ms Brown said the group had started and would continue work on the $1.5 million track upgrades before ramping up efforts for more funds from Racing NSW.
Several councillors were apprehensive about committing the funds to Towac Park and questioned Racing Orange’s viability.
“In racing the form guide is very important, and the form guide for Orange is very good"
But Ms Brown said it was the council’s job to scrutinise where ratepayer funds were spent and all money would be in the form of in-kind work.
“We certainly have big plans for Towac Park,” she said.
“We put every cent we make back into the facility.
“It’s three years we’ve had Racing Orange, it’s a very short space of time to turn around a club that was in massive debt.”
Ms Brown said the group had plans to upgrade the stables and new trainers relocating to the site would speed up the process.
Mr V’landys said Racing NSW was upgrading tracks in all country areas to ensure they were conducive to competitive racing and safe for horses and jockeys.
“In Orange we’re not happy with having the sand track on the outside,” he said.
“We, unlike other sports, are not rationalising the country areas ... we’re actually expanding it. We believe country areas deserve the best of racing.”
The track will be the first priority before other potential upgrades.
Mr V’landys said if there were “synergies” with other codes of racing, such as harness racing, making Towac Park a multi use facility would be considered.
Mr V’landys said Racing NSW had to balance the number of TAB meetings between each racecourse, but was hopeful of Orange securing more TAB meetings.
“In racing the form guide is very important, and the form guide for Orange is very good,” he said.