February, 2015

Revisiting popular farming enterprises is a satisfying way to see progress with owners’ dreams. And so it was when WOF members re-inspected the new racing venue at Tynong.

Members were welcomed back in February to view the construction of the relocated Pakenham Racing Club racecourse. At the first visit, in a colder, wetter time of the year, there were no buildings, no gardens laid out and lanes of mud. Not so this time. Over 600 acres has been transformed into an attractive, functional sporting ground, complete with a wetlands area for irrigation and wildlife.

The racecourse is now out of the suburbs. There is a definite country feel about the location and the spacious surrounds. This exciting facility is due for completion in time for a grand opening. This will take place with a festive race day on Thursday 26 March. Several WOF members have already booked to attend the gala event.

While the grounds were very much a construction site on the first WOF visit, this time there was dense turf growing on the course. Contractors were installing white safety rails around the 2400m long turf track. It was a rare chance to stand on the very site, where in the near future, winning horses will pound past the post.

Within the perimeter of the turf track is a shorter track with a synthetic surface. This aims to ensure that race days scheduled in inclement weather can proceed and are not abandoned due to track conditions.

An impressively designed and constructed under-cover area, holding 142 horses in secure stalls, has been used since July 2014. Within this massive shed are facilities for farriery, veterinary care, pathology sampling, saddling up and strapping down. Daily pre-dawn training sees this building alive with determined trainers, strappers, jockeys and fit thoroughbreds.

Event manger, Ms Hayley Conn, explained the race programme planned for the current and future seasons, including proposed night races on a Thursday. Maintaining good relations with the community is another role for Ms Conn. A special pre-opening inspection is set for local residents.