Leading jockeys heap praise on new Ballarat racing surface

Ballarat Turf Club track upgrade in the formative stages
Ballarat Turf Club track upgrade in the formative stages

LEADING jockeys have given Ballarat Turf Club's new racing surface the thumbs up.

Michelle Payne, Brad Melham and Brad Rawiller each gave their approval after trials on Thursday.

They joined Dean Yendall, Luke Currie and Dean Larsson in gallops as the BTC prepares to resume racing on Sunday, June 1.

Ballarat Turf Club chief executive officer Lachlan McKenzie said all riders gave positive feedback.

He said Rawiller was "really pleased" with the track.

McKenzie said Rawiller had described the surface as "beautiful to ride, with the camber on the turn terrific".

Payne said the new turf was in "perfect condition", with the removal of the dip in the home straight "seeming to be a winner".

Melham also rated the surface as "perfect".

The Darren Weir, Dan O'Sullivan, Simon Morrish and Aquanita Racing stables sent runners around in 800m, 1000m and 1400m trials.

McKenzie said the club was extremely pleased with the entire project to date.

"The trials are the final tick of approval ahead of our return to racing.

"It's terrific to receive such positive feedback from some of the leading riders in the


"We're grateful for the support of everyone in the industry," he said.

McKenzie said surface would be monitored closely over the winter period and the programming carefully managed to

ensure the turf was kept in optimum condition as it continued to consolidate.

The $1.5m project began immediately after last year's Ballarat Cup in late November.

Turf and top soil in the 1200m chute and inner track was replaced, drainage upgraded and dip in the home straight removed.

The June 1 meeting will carry the theme of ä "Wondrous Winter's Day" and feature various family activities in man-made snow.


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