Gladstone turf club sets pace

THE enterprising committee of the Gladstone Turf Club has injected $10,000 of the club's funds to assure Ferguson Park racecourse will host Queensland's richest Non-TAB feature country race meeting during February.

By engendering $10,000 "self-funding", the GTC will stage a five race card on Saturday, February 18, offering $48,000 in total prizemoney.

The injection of an extra "ten grand" means the four restricted races on the program will carry $8500 in stakes as opposed to the normal $6000 purse.

 Astoundingly, this means the Non-TAB GTC will offer more individual race prize money than on offer at the higher profile TAB Saturday provincial race clubs of Rockhampton; Mackay and Townsville.

Furthermore, bolstering the card to unprecedented levels for off-season racing in the Harbour City will be the QTIS 600 Maiden Plate (1000m) with $14,000 up for grabs.

The cash injection is part of a $100,000 stimulus of funds that the GTC is injecting into racing at Ferguson Park during the first six months of 2012.

The money will be utilised for a diverse section of industry participants.

"Over the next three race meetings on February 18; March 24 and Easter Saturday, April 7, we are self funding by adding another $25,000 in prizemoney for races run at Ferguson Park. We want to channel part of the profits our club is generating back into prize money so the backbone of racing - owners; trainers and jockeys can be rewarded. Too often they are overlooked - horse racing is the product and that's what we are about.  We cannot afford to overlook owners and we are proud to offer such enticing prizemoney", the GTC president David Weinert said.

He said the club was "putting-up" and it would be interesting to assess the level of support from industry stakeholders.

As well, a much needed new running rail, funded by the club at a cost of $30,000 will be operative at Ferguson Park for the gala February meeting.

The GTC, a trendsetter and highly professional Queensland country entity in its own right is ensuring that racegoers will also benefit from its huge upturn in patronage in recent years.

"We have allocated $45,000 for extension covering to the front of the betting arena complex which will provide further comfort for patrons. This too should be completed for the next meeting", Weinert said.

Last month, Gladstone became one of the few race clubs in Queensland - provincial clubs included, to introduce online electronic ticketing for admittance to race meetings.

Not prepared to rest on its laurels, the GTC is expected to announce further prizemoney injections later this year.

As the GTC does not receive the level of funding from Racing Queensland that it affords numerous other country clubs, its enterprising announcements this week are all the more astonishing and testimony to its professionalism.

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