AFTER being closed for ten months due to animal welfare issues, the Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Track upgrade is on the home stretch.
Granted $480,000 from the state government in July to carry out repairs, the Gunnedah track will soon boast some of the most modern facilities in the state.
Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club president Geoff Rose said trials of the new track would be carried out in the coming weeks ahead of the club’s first TAB meeting in almost a year on January 27.
“We’re hoping to be trialling the new track and equipment in mid-January,” Rose said.
“By having a few trials we will be able to ensure that any teething problems we may have will be sorted out before the TAB meeting in late January.
“I don’t expect there to be too many issues but we have got a lot of new equipment such as a new lure motor, so it’s important we are familiar with it ahead of race day.”
Along with the new lure, the track has also benefited from additional sand at the track’s corners, additional padding around the track and a higher rail.
“So far the only other track in the state to have all of these state-of-the-art features is Gosford,” Rose said.
“Animal welfare is paramount and that’s why all of these features are being put in place.
“The safety and welfare of the animals is important to everyone involved in the industry and it is exciting to be implementing things like a first aid cart to help cover those bases.”
Rose said he believed the club’s return TAB meeting would draw “a big crowd”.
“The meeting is booked in for January 27 so it’s up to us to be ready,” he said.
“I think there will be a lot of people there because it has been such a long time since our last meeting in February.
“Our meetings have historically had a strong following and I’m confident our first meeting back will be no different.”
The Gunnedah track’s closure along with the recent closure of the Tamworth Greyhound Track has meant local trainers have been without a facility to race at for the better part of a year.
“I think trainers from across the region will be very pleased with the upgrade,” Rose said.
“Things have been a bit tough lately but now our track is not far away from being finished and the trainers will have somewhere to race again.
“I think it’s fair to say everyone is looking forward to it.”
Rose said the upgrades would help ensure the future of greyhound racing in Gunnedah for the future.
“Everything is brand new and sate-of-the-art,” he said.
“Once it is all complete it will be very high-tech.
“The next step in the process ahead of the trials will be to compact down the sand on the track a little bit more.
“I think that will happen shortly after the team returns from their Christmas break on January 7.
“But so far we are all pretty pleased with the progress we are making and are really looking forward to the trials in the coming weeks.”