Trainers to stay at Bundamba
IPSWICH thoroughbred trainers will now remain at Bundamba Racecourse after a breakthrough meeting with Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) officials took place yesterday.
RQL chairman Bob Bentley and his colleagues met 30 disgruntled Ipswich trainers at the Ipswich Turf Club to discuss the governing body's $30 million redevelopment plans for Bundamba Racecourse.
The plans call for all three codes of racing to move to the Bundamba track to make the facility the busiest racing centre in Australia.
But controversy erupted after the announcement because the plans did not include training facilities for the thoroughbred trainers.
This would have forced 50 trainers to relocate from the region.
But yesterday's meeting was unexpectedly positive, with trainers making a strong case to remain at Bundamba.
“There will be a compromise and I imagine the trainers will stay at the track now,” Mr Bentley said.
“There are no guarantees because it depends on what our engineers say.
“It's a physical space issue, so if we can rework a couple of things and find space, which I think we can do, then the trainers' facilities will remain.”
The new plans for Bundamba Racecourse will be completed within six weeks.
“We will start working on the amendments straight away so we can get the redesigned plans back to the trainers in January,” Mr Bentley said.
“The trainers were good to talk to and were supportive of the plan to merge the greyhounds, trots and thoroughbreds into one location. Their only issue was the training facilities being cut.”
Ipswich Thoroughbred Trainers and Owners Association president Geoff Livermore said he was now optimistic about a positive resolution after initially labelling the RQL decision to cut their facilities “disgusting”.
“After the meeting I felt a lot better about our prospects,” Mr Livermore said.
“The meeting was professional and the Racing Queensland officials were receptive and listened to us.
“We couldn't afford to yell and carry on at the meeting. Because this is our livelihoods, it means so much to us to stay at Bundamba.”
Mr Livermore presented detailed facts about the number of trainers who worked at Bundamba and the negative impact it would have if they left the region.
Livermore said the members of his association brought in more than $3 million in revenue to the industry each year.
“I feel a compromise can be reached. It's been a good day for us,” Mr Livermore said.
“Hopefully the trainers will be happy with the new plans.”
Mr Bentley initially said there were simply not enough trainers at Bundamba to warrant maintaining the facilities.