Greyhound participants west of the Blue Mountains will have TAB racing at a new multi-million dollar racetrack at Lithgow early in 2024.
Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Officer Mr Rob Macaulay has today confirmed that with preliminary planning now completed and the tender process underway, works on the $3.1 million upgrade are expected to commence in early October with a completion date set for January.
“I am delighted to be able to announce that work will begin shortly on the upgrade to Lithgow,” Mr Macaulay said. “As I discussed when we announced that GRNSW would be undertaking this major work at Lithgow, there has been a void for participants in the region since we lost the Bathurst track at Kennerson Park in the floods last November.
“As a result there has been no TAB track between Richmond, across the mountains and all the way to Dubbo, so this became a priority for us and while there has been some delays beyond our control, we are now full steam ahead and the intention is to have the upgrades completed in January, which I’m sure will be the perfect way to start the new year for all participants from right around the region.”
A new two turn, 472m (circumference increased from 462m) track will be built at Lithgow with four starts of 320m, 410m, 520m, and 600m. Turns will be a larger radii from 48m to 53m, transitions will be added, and a SafeChase lure system will be installed.
Other additions will be improvements to the kennels, and patron facilities, as well as a new semaphore board and winning post.
“Once complete the people of Lithgow will not only have a track and venue to be proud of, but one that will be ready to host TAB racing while a new track in the Central West is being built,” Mr Macaulay said.
Local MP, the Hon Paul Toole, Member for Bathurst, was delighted by the news that work will soon commence at Lithgow and the track will be ready to race early in 2024.
“This is tremendous news for greyhound racing participants on this side of the Blue Mountains. Since the closure due to flooding of Bathurst’s Kennerson Park late last year, there has been no TAB racetrack between Richmond and Dubbo and that’s just not good enough,” Mr Toole said.
“We are waiting for a decision on a new track for the Central West to replace Kennerson Park, and even when that decision is made it will still take quite some time to build that facility, so to hear that Lithgow will be racing and having TAB events early next year is the news the people of the Central West needed to hear.
“We shouldn’t forget that the welfare of our dogs is most important, and the new Lithgow track will have all the latest designs and safety features to ensure that it will be one of the safest tracks in NSW.”
The Lithgow announcement came as a recent IER report, which scoped the entire NSW greyhound racing industry, revealed that $18.9 million in value-added economic activity is generated annually by greyhound racing in the Central West.
“The Central West is a vital region for our sport, with more than 1,000 roles occupied across breeders, owners, trainers, racing club and industry staff, volunteers and other deeply valued participants,” Mr Macaulay said.
“These are the locals in a community who invest in the towns throughout the Central West not to mention pay taxes and contribute to the State’s coffers – both directly and indirectly – to the tune of $18.9 million per annum.
“The flow on effects from the region’s greyhound industry touch a lot of other businesses in the community as well as providing livelihoods for many hard-working people.”