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RACING under lights will commence at Victoria’s newest racecourse, Pakenham Racing Club’s (PRC) Park, in early 2016 following a $5 million funding boost announced today by the Victorian State Government.

In a coup for the PRC and the wider Victorian thoroughbred racing industry, installation of a new $12 million track lighting system will commence by June 2015 thanks to a joint investment from the Government, Racing Victoria (RV), Country Racing Victoria (CRV) and PRC.

RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, welcomed the support of the Andrews Labor Government which will allow the expansion of night racing to a third venue in Victoria, with Park set to complement existing night racing venues Moonee Valley and Cranbourne.

“Exploring opportunities to expand the Victorian night racing circuit is one of the priorities of our Strategic Plan as a way of increasing audience engagement and maximising domestic and international wagering opportunities,” Saundry said.

“Thursday night racing at Park will become a feature of our calendar from next season and we expect a significant uplift in wagering returns based on the expansion of our night racing circuit.

“On behalf of the industry, I wish to thank the Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, and the State Government for supporting the industry’s vision to grow and develop Victorian racing here and into international markets.

“The Government funding will help further develop what is a first-class racing precinct and provide significant benefits for the Cardinia Shire, the local community and the wider Victorian racing industry.”

With RV today releasing its 2015-16 race dates, 16 Thursday night meetings – nine on turf, seven on synthetic – have been programmed at Park next season from 21 January 2016. It will be Victoria’s most active racecourse with 38 day/night meetings scheduled – 16 on turf and 22 on synthetic.

From the 2016-17 season, the new racecourse is expected to host up to 28 meetings under lights each year – increasing the total number of night meetings across the state to approximately 62 meetings or a little over 10% of all meetings held in Victoria.

CRV Chief Executive, Scott Whiteman, said the expansion of night racing to a second country racecourse would drive all-important wagering growth and be of benefit to all industry participants.

“ Park’s ability to host racing year-round on both turf and synthetic surfaces at a purpose built venue which also has access to the large horse population east of Melbourne means it was a natural choice for Victoria’s third night racing venue,” Whiteman said.  

PRC Chairman, Don Duffy, said the Club was delighted with news of the funding.  

“This decision is another vote of confidence from the racing industry and the State Government in the new Pakenham Racecourse facility,” Duffy said. “It is another important step in the Club delivering its vision to be a major player in Victorian racing.”

The state-of-the-art lighting system at Park will provide:

  • The flexibility to conduct night meetings under lights on both turf and synthetic tracks – as occurs in other leading international jurisdictions;
  • Broadcast quality technology with up to 75 lighting masts ranging in height from 20 to 46 metres installed around Park’s turf and synthetic tracks; and
  • Energy savings of up to 30 per cent in comparison to existing night racing venues through modern dimming technology between races.

With Thursday night meetings to finish at an earlier time than the current Friday night circuit, the Park turf track will be lit for races up to 1600m and the synthetic track for all race distances.

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