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Synthetic track planned for Ballarat

The Ballarat racecourse is set to get a synthetic track with Racing Victoria announcing plans for Geelong to revert to grass.

Pakenham and Geelong currently have synthetic tracks which host race meetings but RV said racing on the Geelong synthetic track would cease after September.

A new grass training track is planned inside the course proper which can also host a select number of race meetings.

The decision to choose Ballarat followed a 12-month review which RV said was prompted by the need to replace the Geelong synthetic track at the end of this year because of wear and tear.

RV executive general manager of infrastructure and club support, Jamie McGuinness, said RV would now work with stakeholders to progress its synthetic track footprint, including engaging with the Victorian government.

Pakenham, which began synthetic track racing in 2015, remained a preferred option.

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Ballarat, Kilmore and Geelong were considered as the other possible locations.

It is expected construction will start at Ballarat after this year’s Cup meeting in November with a view to racing in May next year.

The synthetic track will replace the inner turf track at Ballarat.

“Not only will we be able to deliver a better track with all the traditional race starts at Ballarat, but the track will better align to our current and future population of trainers and horses,” McGuinness said.

“It will also complement the synthetic track at Racing.com Park (Pakenham) by providing the right geographic balance across the state.”

RV also announced its intention to upgrade the Kilmore course proper to improve the camber.

“Whilst we’re aware that some stakeholders were seeking a third synthetic track, the business case did not support it,” McGuinness said.

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