Recent Ipswich winner Firebox, ridden by Allan Chau. Picture: Claire Power
Recent Ipswich winner Firebox, ridden by Allan Chau. Picture: Claire Power

Wagering boost welcome as footy comes back to life


NRL matches were played over the weekend as a mainstream sport returned following two months of COVID-19 restrictions.

Various businesses as well are starting to re-emerge after a long, difficult and economically damaging period of time.

One of the few sectors to have actually prospered during this couple of months is the sport of racing, which began long before all others.

Somewhat ironically, a primary reason for the success of racing over the past two months has been the reason for a decline in race club activities over the past couple of decades - online wagering.

Racing administrators worked hard over the past few months introducing various procedures in consultation with health authorities and governments to ensure a continuation of racing.

The unexpected result has been a surge in popularity and interest in racing with increased online turnover and media content being the measures.

The growth in online wagering over the past two decades, along with the fact that punting takeout percentages provide around 90% of racing funding, are the two keys to the success of the sport over the past two months.

Other sports rely on attendances or television rights to a large degree. Hospitality industries also rely on patrons attending the venue.

While hospitality revenues are important for race clubs, it is the wagering takeout that provides the majority of funding to the overall sport.

Significant progress

AS on-course patronage at race clubs has declined in recent years, the clubs have been motivated to seek alternative sources of revenues.

The Ipswich Infrastructure project, which will provide various non-racing activities, continues with the finish line well within sight.

Over the past couple of months work finally commenced on the new stalls and in the past two weeks there is significant progress.

The steel framework for the stalls, walkways, and additional buildings will be finished this week and there is a planned total completion date of the stalls complex prior to the newly announced Ipswich race meeting on July 18.

The demolition of old stalls and buildings will follow the installation of new stalls. It is expected to be complete around the end of winter when finishing touches will be allowed on the new carpark, which is near completion.

The final piece of the puzzle is the widening of TL Cooney Avenue, which is due to commence next week.

The entire Ipswich community is eagerly waiting a return to a new complex of which the city can be enormously proud.

Ipswich part of revamped carnival

RACING Queensland made an announcement that Ipswich will feature in the revamped Winter Carnival with the rescheduling of the listed races, the Gai Waterhouse Fillies and Mares Classic and Eye Liner Stakes to Saturday, July 18.

After an initial full cancellation of the Winter Carnival, it has been returned and extended through to late July, albeit with reduced prizemoney for feature races.

On current indications this will still be a time of racing without patrons though relaxation of restrictions continues to be allowed.

Ipswich also had the meeting on Wednesday, June 24 transferred over from Eagle Farm in recognition of the hectic program for that track through the Winter Carnival.

After racing a couple of weeks ago for the first time in two months following refurbishments, Eagle Farm races over the next two Saturdays including the Stradbroke Handicap this weekend.

The Stradbroke Handicap is Queensland's most important race.

Despite a much lower level of prizemoney, there is a quality field assured to be contesting the race, including nominations from last year's winner Trekking and smart weekend winner Dawn Passage.

Next meetings

FUTURE Ipswich race meetings scheduled are on Sunday, June 7, followed by two Wednesdays - June 17 and 24 - with further programs yet to be fully determined.

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