BALLARAT is poised to pounce on a likely increase in horse trainers searching for a way out of Melbourne.
Malua Racing, a partnership between experienced pair Troy Corstens and John Sadler, and Caulfield Cup winner Jim Mason, are the newest training operations to set-up stables here in Ballarat.
And Minister for Racing Denis Napthine believes more are on their way.
Dr Napthine said the Dowling Forest complex would become appealing as pressure grows on city-based trainers.
“I think we will see more and more trainers either establishing fully here in Ballarat, or doing what Malua Racing does, and have a large contingent of their horses (in Ballarat) and have only their very top-notch horses in the city,” he said.
“The costs are much higher in Melbourne. If you are going to have a horse trained in Melbourne, it’s got to be a bloody good horse to make it worthwhile. Many trainers are having secondary stables for up-and-comers and young horses, and bring only the very best to Melbourne, where they can justify the prices.
“There is increasing pressure on, say, Caulfield from the local community, who are concerned about having a large number of horses trained in that vicinity.
“The local council and community are continually pressing to look at alternate uses for that area.”
Ballarat Turf Club chief executive Lachlan McKenzie said while stabling was limited around the Dowling Forest complex, it had the ability to cater for more horses on course.
“Every stable is spoken for, but we have the hill track and training tracks to be able to handle another 400 horses no problems. What we do need is the development of the stables,” McKenzie said.
“If we can get more stables on track, they’d be filled tomorrow, but the ultimate would be to get some of this local land taken up for development and have trainers come and build their own facility.”
McKenzie said Ballarat’s location, being in close proximity to a host of tracks around the state, the extensive training surfaces and options on offer at the course and reasonably priced, sub-dividable land were all attractive reasons to train horses in Ballarat.