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Track enhancements set tone for successful Lincoln season

When the Port Lincoln racing season gets underway this Sunday, October 3, participants and punters may note there’s been a number of enhancements made to the facilities at the regional track.

During the off season, Racing SA and the Port Lincoln Racing Club acquired a block of land adjoining the racecourse to re-design the 1390m start chute.

The change means the chute commences with a straight down the back of the track rather than riders quickly facing a turn, with the improvement allowing for increased field sizes which mean more horses can run from the distance.

New floodlights have also been installed at the track for enhanced safety.

In addition, the Club has bolstered its training facilities, with the inner sand training track re-laid and plastic running rails installed around it.

The enhancements complement the infrastructure works completed at Port Lincoln last year, with new race day tie-up stalls, a vet room, swabbing stall and day yard to the value of $192,000 funded through the Marshall Liberal Government’s investment in the SA racing industry. New function facilities have also recently been unveiled.

The Club hosted 7 trials last week before the commencement of the new season, which runs from October through to March.

Racing SA CEO Nick Redin said the facility enhancements were another step forward for racing in the region, which continues to see strong growth.

“Racing has a great tradition around Port Lincoln and it’s great to see it going from strength-to-strength,” Redin said.

“With local horse numbers increasing, it was important that we re-designed the 1390m start chute to allow more horses to get a run from this distance.

“There’s been significant improvements made at Port Lincoln in recent years and we’re looking forward to a successful season.”

Speaking at the trials, which included a jump out from the new chute, trainer Gary Searle praised the chute change.  

“The new 1350m chute will be good. The old one, the 1390m, you could only run 10 horses and if the rail was out you could only run eight so it limited field sizes which meant a lot of horses were missing out on runs,” Searle said.

“The new chute will open it up a bit so we can have full fields all the time from that start.

“The track looks in great order so they’ve done a good job during the year.”

Jockey Lizzie Annells was also complimentary of the enhancements to the facilities.  

“They’ve put around 20 floodlights up around the main track and around the back, as well as more plastic railing, that’s just safety for everyone,” Annells said.

“They’ve also re-designed the 1390m chute so instead of it coming around, it’s a nice straight down the back.

“It’s probably about three furlongs, the straight, and it just gives a lot more time to settle your horse and find your position. It creates a better racing environment.”

Fellow jockey Eran Boyd said she was excited about the local season opening.  

“It’s great to see Racing SA put on some trials. It gives the horses a chance to have a spin around and gives us a chance to get a feel for the horses we’ll be riding during the season,” she said.

“I’ve done every Port Lincoln season since I started riding, it’s actually what got me going as an apprentice so I’m very fortunate I get good support here.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back on Sunday to have another crack and hopefully I can go one better and actually win the premiership here this year – that would be great!”

Fields for Sunday’s Opening Season Meet at Port Lincoln can be viewed here.

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