Australia only has three synthetic racecourses, of which Geeling ThoroughTrack is one. And when a synthetic track begins to cause problems, it affects everyone in the horse racing community. Geelong Racing Club is understandably under tremendous stress after the announcement from Victoria Racing Ltd, that the Geelong track is to be closed for repairs and maintenance. With losses estimated at approximately $15 000 per race meeting that is canceled, the Geelong Racing Club is in for a rough time.
The Geelong Racing Club maintains that they have been open with Victoria Racing Ltd in regard to the synthetic track, and after drainage work was done on the track last month, more problems have arisen. The last racing meeting had to be cancelled after rocks were found on the track, and concern for both jockeys and horses’ safety raised anxiety in the industry. Rob Hines, who is the chief executive of Racing Victoria Ltd, knows that it is not just Geelong Racing Club that is at the losing end of the damaged racecourse, but the track itself is losing support.
Synthetic racecourses have been approved by racing authorities around the world, as most have proved to be an asset to the horse racing industry. Weather conditions can no longer effect race days and far fewer injuries have been reported. Even though more race days have been added to the Australian racing schedule, horsemen, trainers, spectators and jockeys are beginning to lose faith in the Geelong ThoroughTrack. The Geelong track is made from a blend of sand, fibre and wax, and it sustained a substantial amount of damage during the draining process when a grader ripped up chunks of concrete.
Engineers are scheduled to complete their report in regard to repair work and upgrades needed to ensure that the Geelong ThoroughTrack can operate without further incident by the end of the month, after which repair work will commence. Racing has therefore been cancelled and fixtures moved to Ballarat and Pakenham. Repair work is estimated to take two months, and everyone concerned hopes to bring racing back to Geelong ThoroughTrack as soon as possible.