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Full steam ahead for uphill sand track

Work on Murray Bridge Racing Club’s $500,000 uphill sand training track has hit top gear, ahead of its expected November opening.

An important additional piece of training infrastructure, the facility will assist the club’s move towards becoming an elite training facility.

The track will be just over 800m long and contain one bend, plus a gradient of between 2.5 per cent and 6 per cent.

Construction began last month and club secretary/manager John Buhagiar (pictured) is pleased the facility is coming together quickly and smoothly.

“There’s plenty of work happening at the moment,” Mr Buhagiar said.

“On site you can see the irrigation lines being trenched into place.

“They’ve also started to get the graders out there and are putting the sand out.

“Overall, it’s coming along quite quickly really, given we didn’t start it that long ago.

“So we’re definitely on schedule. We just had to wait for council development approval to come through and since that’s happened it’s been all systems go.”

The development – located west of the horse stalls – is being funded as part of the State Government’s $24 million racing-industry stimulus package announced last year. The package also funded the Gawler and Barossa Jockey Club's game-changing $495,000 equine pool, which was officially opened in June. Other projects to come are increased on-course stabling at both Morphettville and Gawler – also to be delivered as part of the stimulus – and upgrades to facilities at both Strathalbyn and Port Lincoln.

Mr Buhagiar said additional infrastructure would arrive in the coming days.

“The running rail should be here sometime this week, followed by catching pen and all the external fencing, which will be the last thing to go up,” he said.

The club and Thoroughbred Racing SA expect the new facility to be a major boost to local trainers.

“I’ve started to realise how many people are out there saying, ‘I can’t wait for this to happen’,” Mr Buhagiar said.

“Some local trainers are very keen to have it up and running. It will provide us with a point of difference to other training centres and will be an important training and conditioning tool.”

TRSA CEO Nick Redin said he was looking forward to the completion of the uphill sand training track.

“This is another piece of infrastructure that will allow trainers to increase their horse numbers and continue to create new jobs in a regional area, as we have seen the pool at Gawler deliver,” Mr Redin said.

Uphill sand training tracks are regarded as beneficial to horses’ cardiovascular fitness and strength, and are beneficial to all gaits.

Mr Buhagiar confirmed an official opening ceremony would be conducted for the facility.

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