RACING AHEAD: An artist's impression of the Bundamba Racetrack redevelopment.
RACING AHEAD: An artist's impression of the Bundamba Racetrack redevelopment. Contributed

City's racing future sealed as jockeys rejoice

JOCKEYS are going to love it now they won't get rained on each time they go into their rooms.

The truth is that everyone's a winner at the Ipswich Turf Club after Racing Minister Grace Grace's announcement of a $13 million funding injection to totally transform and redevelop facilities and the track.

The Ipswich Turf Club redevelopment project includes $10 million towards the following:

Remedial turf works including the partial resurfacing of the course proper, improved drainage and irrigation.

A new building for jockeys, stewards, food and beverage facilities and a new function centre with facilities for on-course patrons.

Roof weatherproofing.

The project also includes provision for up to an additional $3 million for the construction of a sealed car park for 125 cars, new race day stalls, float set-down area and other considerations, should the commercial development on Brisbane Rd proceed as planned.

The subdivision project on Brisbane Road will generate non-racing revenue to the club as a master-planned commercial and retail precinct.

The QT spoke to former jockey and Sky Racing analyst Bernadette Cooper, who has been a frequent visitor for decades to Ipswich as a jockey and in her media role.

She said jockeys would indeed be rejoicing.

"The jockeys will be excited and will welcome this with open arms," she said.

"They won't know themselves.

"We've been waiting for a long time.

"Nothing has changed in Ipswich as long as I have been going there since 1991.

"The jockey's rooms leak profusely and they are not big enough ether.

"The facilities are just tired, so this is such a massive bonus to all racing participants to have an upgrade."

Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch said track works were much needed with $500,000 to be set aside for it.

"We are going to take the top off and put some more soil down because it doesn't drain as well as it should," he said.

"Then we'll completely re-turf it and we would think it would last another 20 years without any problems.

"It is a good racing surface but if we get any rain it just gets a bit untidy."

The track will need to be closed for a period of around six to eight weeks while that work is done at some stage.

Mr Patch reinforced what Ms Cooper said about the jockeys being happy.


Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch, Racing minister Grace Grace, Jennifer Howard MP and Jim Madden MP.
Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch, Racing minister Grace Grace, Jennifer Howard MP and Jim Madden MP. Rob Williams

"They will be delighted because if we get 10mm of rain they don't have to use the showers because the water is coming through the roof," he said.

"The whole facility will be state-of-the-art."

Ms Grace said she was thrilled to be the bringer of good tidings.

"This is fantastic because it is nearly three decades that nothing has been spent at this club other than on maintenance," she said.

"So after three decades we are securing the future of the Ipswich Turf Club."

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard has lobbied hard for the funding.

After winning office in 2015 one of the first meetings she had was with the turf club to find out what the status of the project was.

She subsequently liaised closely with Ms Grace to ensure a positive result.

"It is a great win for the turf club and a great win for Ipswich," she said.

"The Ipswich Turf Club is a really significant racing facility in Queensland and this just shows that the regard the Queensland Government has for the work that they do and the popularity of the club.

"I have fought really hard for it because I understand how important this is to the turf club and the broader Ipswich community."

Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said the club was thrilled.

"When we heard the news we were doing cartwheels around the place," he said.