Mayor Graeme Lehmann, Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell, Kilcoy Racing Club life member and treasurer Jenny Searle, life member and president Con Searle and Somerset Regional Council CEO Andrew Johnston. Picture: Contributed
Mayor Graeme Lehmann, Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell, Kilcoy Racing Club life member and treasurer Jenny Searle, life member and president Con Searle and Somerset Regional Council CEO Andrew Johnston. Picture: Contributed

How this club is setting the benchmark for country racing

KILCOY Race Club is setting the benchmark for country racing after undergoing almost $1 million in upgrades to ensure its prosperity long into the future.

The project included a shared barbecue space, indoor and outdoor dining area, tiered seating for 300 people, improvements to the betting ring and disability access, and a direct link to the trackside pavilion.

 

Looking south at the newly upgraded Kilcoy Race Track. Picture: Contributed
Looking south at the newly upgraded Kilcoy Race Track. Picture: Contributed

Somerset Regional Council CEO Andrew Johnson said annual visitation to the facility was tipped to increase from 74,000 people to 100,000 in coming years.

"This is an investment in Kilcoy's future - a community asset that will benefit a number of groups and build on the town's already strong equine industry," Mr Johnson said.

"Council is committed to the continued growth and prosperity of Kilcoy, demonstrated by the recent purchase of land adjoining this site and the approval of a 30-lot equestrian development to the north.

"I thank the Queensland Government for its funding support, and also acknowledge everyone involved in the design and construction process."

During the next few years, Somerset Regional Council will also develop a 6ha block adjacent to the race club into an equine centre.

This development will feature a training track, polo cross field and an equine hospital and vet.

It will also allow the current track to be extended to have a 1250m start line that will give horses a 400m straight before the first corner.

 

Punters enjoying the new terrace at the Kilcoy Race Club. Picture: Contributed
Punters enjoying the new terrace at the Kilcoy Race Club. Picture: Contributed

Kilcoy Race Club president Con Searle said it was simply amazing what the council had been able to achieve.

"This just goes to show that if country clubs work hard with council they can achieve incredible things," Searle said.

"I have been a registered bookmaker for 51 years and I'm finding that country racing is again booming.

"Country races are attracting all sorts of people from the city and it is a nursery for first-time trainers, owners and jockeys.

"I like to think we have a very bright future ahead of us and I believe we have set a good example for other clubs to follow."

The Kilcoy Racecourse redevelopment received $553,545 from the Somerset Regional Council, while State Government provided a further $369,030 through the Building our Regions program.

 

The revamped betting ring and the new and improved TAB facilities at the Kilcoy Race Club. Picture: Contributed
The revamped betting ring and the new and improved TAB facilities at the Kilcoy Race Club. Picture: Contributed

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said he was impressed by what he saw

"The redevelopment is testament to the manner in which the respective tiers of government can collaborate for meaningful and long-lasting benefit to the regions, recognising the important economic and social role racing plays in Queensland communities," Parnell said.

"On an annual basis, close to 1500 thoroughbred participants are actively involved in racing in the region, providing more than $16 million to the local economy.

"As a result of these upgrades, I look forward to Kilcoy using its recent momentum to continue its forward trajectory - on and off the track - for the benefit of its members, the community and the industry more broadly."

Kilcoy Race Club has gone from a club that once hosted two meets a year to a leading country club that hosts 12 annual meets.

The next meet is set for Sunday, March 22.

 

The new cafeteria built by the Somerset Regional Council for the Kilcoy Race Club. Picture: Contributed
The new cafeteria built by the Somerset Regional Council for the Kilcoy Race Club. Picture: Contributed
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