26 FEBRUARY 2021


By Jordan Gerrans

Trainer Natalie McCall believes the replacement of the synthetic track at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club will be a big boost for the racing industry in Queensland.

The new all-weather Polytrack synthetic track is a key element of the $8.9 million project at the track, which will also include important irrigation and drainage works to be conducted at Corbould Park.

McCall thinks a new consistent surface to train and trial horses on is important, declaring it is vital to maintain horses being sound as their bodies can get used to it when the project is complete.

“The original synthetic track that we had in early on was really good but obviously as time goes on it got worn down with the weather,” McCall said.

“I think we will see the same benefits so we can work and trial in all kinds of weather, it is a nice soft surface for the horses.

“Any horses that are suffering any kinds of injuries are better on the synthetic surface.

“It will have great benefits for us here at Caloundra, obviously being an all-weather track, we get a lot of rainfall and on the flip side, we get a lot of hot weather, also.”

The current synthetic track was installed around 13 years and has been ready for a freshen up, McCall says.

Sunshine Coast Turf Club CEO John Miller pointed to the 65 stables and 430 horses every morning that will be able to utilise the new track later in 2021.

“The trainers will be fortunate in a few months’ time to have a first class training facility here on the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“Once they are all done, it provides a really good training set up.”

Miller thinks the new improvements take his track to the next level.

“Our board is committed to lifting the level of racing on the Sunshine Coast as we have shown over the years, we can hold metropolitan Saturday meetings, our wagering stacks up and the trainers love coming here,” he said.

“It is a matter of maintaining that now, we have a wonderful grass track and now we will have a synthetic track that gives us flexibility.

“It will allow us to have some renovation periods for the grass track and we can give it a spell if we feel we need too.”

The days of losing a meeting and having to transfer it to another track following heavy rain will be gone once the new track is ready to go, Miller believes.

He is also hopeful that if other tracks are too wet from rain, the Sunshine Coast could also pick up meetings from other clubs.

McCall says Corbould Park is an excellent facility to train a team of horses.

“The rest of the place is A1,” McCall said.

“Even though the track is tired, it still does a great job and we get the benefit of galloping horses every day of the week if we want.

“Once the new track goes in, we will be able to trial every week, which will be a massive benefit when you are planning for things.

“The rest of the place here at the Sunshine Coast is excellent, the walker, track and the stables.”

As well as the new synthetic track, work on a fresh irrigation system will also soon commence.

With around 430 horses going around every morning on the Sunshine Coast, the club is hopeful of expanding that to 550 in the near future.

“The track is a pretty important thing to get done before we build more stables and take on more numbers,” Miller said.

On the racing side of things, Miller is confident of running hybrid meetings once the new synthetic track is complete, likely to be on a Friday night.

He suggested holding a meeting with a split of grass and synthetic races once trainers in the state are comfortable with the new facilities.

A Polytrack will also be installed as part of the future Gold Coast tracks and lights project, which Miller thinks will be crucial to have consistency around the region with their track.

The synthetic track upgrade will be co-funded via the Queensland Government, Racing Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast Turf Club.

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