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What to expect from the $13m Ipswich Turf Club upgrade

This year’s Ipswich Cup race day on June 16 marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Ipswich Turf Club.

It will be the last major event at the club before it is transformed by a $13 million redevelopment, the biggest investment in the club for more than two decades.

Ipswich First spoke with turf club general manager Brett Kitching to find out what the community could expect from the upgrade.

An improved racing surface

This part of the project has started. The main focus is on improving drainage to allow for more healthy grass covering and increase the cushioning of the surface.

A new water pump and irrigation lines are being installed to improve the flow of irrigation water. As well, Queensland Racing will purchase new equipment for the club including a new mower, sand and fertiliser spreader, and an aerator.

This equipment will help in loosening the compaction of the top layer of the surface to return to more cushioned racing conditions over time. The end result will be a better racing surface.

“It means in dry times the track will not be as hard and in wet times we won’t lose as many meets because more water will be able to escape. It will also be easier on the horses,” Mr Kitching said.

A better experience for members

Turf club members will notice big changes with a new dual purpose member’s lounge and events centre the centrepiece of the refurbishment.

“The big advantage and most noticeable change will be the member’s lounge. Currently, the member’s area is in under the grandstand, the new one will have glass windows facing to the east and a balcony overlooking the track,” Mr Kitching said.

“It will provide a much better viewing experience for members.”

When it is not being used on race days for members, it will be available as one of the premier events spaces in the western corridor.

“It can be divided down the middle into two rooms or be used as one big room capable of seating up to 300 people,” Mr Kitching said.

“It will bring our events centre offering into the current millennium and be the newest facility in the region.”

The events centre is expected to get plenty of workout for awards nights, gala balls, presentation nights, wedding receptions and other gatherings.

It’s expected this part of the upgrade will be finished by September this year.

State of the art stewards and jockeys rooms

Ipswich Turf Club’s current stewards and jockeys rooms are more than half a century old, dating back to the 1960s.

The new ones will be on the ground floor of the events centre building.

“The current rooms really aren’t fit for purpose so it will be wonderful to provide our stewards and jockeys with new, modern rooms,” Mr Kitching said.

“The new rooms will bring our facilities in line with other racecourses around the country.”

The club also has future plans to upgrade car parking and its race day stalls.

A club well placed for the future

The major refurbishment at Ipswich Turf Club will bring the club up to standard and leave it well placed for a prosperous future.

“We’ve basically been stuck in the past for some time and these upgrades will take us into the future,” Mr Kitching said.

“The end result will be a better experience for racegoers, stewards and jockeys.”

The club already hosts 50 meets per year, making it one of the busiest regional track in the country, and will continue to do so into the future.

There are also plans to improve the club’s environmental sustainability. Plans are in motion for the installation of a 98kW solar power system with more details to be released in the coming months.

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