DOWLING Forest Racecourse’s inner track and chute racing surface will get an overhaul next season.
Ballarat Turf Club will take a break from racing immediately after Ballarat Cup Day in November until May next year to allow the joint project with the state government and Racing Victoria to be undertaken.
The Sportsbet.com.au Ballarat Cup will be run on Sunday, November 24.
Racing Victoria will transfer 12 race meetings to other venues.
BTC chief executive Lachlan McKenzie said this would be the first major work undertaken on the track since a major upgrade in the mid to late 1990s.
McKenzie said Ballarat had the most-used grass track in the state and the workload had taken a toll.
He said while other tracks took a break in the summer and autumn, Ballarat raced weekly.
The BTC has also taken on additional flat and jumps trials.
McKenzie said this week emphasised how much Dowling Forest was in demand, with jumps trials and schools today, a race meeting tomorrow and flat jump-outs on Friday.
He said the track had undergone substantial maintenance in the past few years, but the time had come to carry out more substantial works.
McKenzie said the details of the project were still to be finalised, with a few options being considered.
He said major upgrades have been carried out at Geelong, Moe and Yarra Valley, and it was pleasing that Ballarat was getting an opportunity to follow suit.
Racing Victoria yesterday released the framework for the 2013-14 racing calendar, which will feature 568 race meetings – four TAB and four non-TAB meetings fewer than this season.
These comprise 110 metropolitan, 424 country and 34 picnic race dates.
Meanwhile, Ballarat continues its busy autumn racing schedule with an eight-race card tomorrow – the first at 1pm.
The Bryce Stanaway-trained Knucklemanna will chase a hat-trick of wins in the Hygain Showcase 0-62 Handicap, 2300m.,
Knucklemanna saluted over 2200m in Ballarat on Thursday and will again have the services of jockey Ben Melham.