Top rating for Geelong track
GEELONG Racecourse earned official recognition as the cream of regional Victoria when its track surface won an award at an industry conference last week.
Geelong Racing Club track manager James Dalton was named the best in his field at the Country Racing Victoria Club Managers and Track Managers Conference at Echuca last week.
A panel of racing experts assessed the state’s racecourses based on their performance in the past year, including for its appearance on racedays, feedback from jockeys and trainers and wagering performance.
Mr Dalton said he was honoured to receive the award, which he said belonged to the whole Geelong Racing Club team.
“It’s a result that makes you feel recognised,” he said.
“I’m only as good as the team I’ve got around me. It’s a really strong, capable and experienced team
“Without the crew I’ve got walking into raceday preparation, starting barrier moves, railway moves, I’d be in trouble.
“We’re proud of the track, it races 27 times a year which is the most of any single grass track in the state, so we certainly do a power of work.
“We race right through winter when it’s tough, so it’s great to be recognised in that way.”
Mr Dalton said the award helped cement Geelong’s bona fides as a top regional racing destination, alongside existing heavyweights such as Ballarat, Pakenham and Cranbourne.
“We’re not ever going to be a massive training centre that have 600 horses. But with what we’ve got, we want to make the best we possibly can with al tracks and facilities,” he said.
“(GRC chief executive officer) Luke Rayner is really on board with that and we’re both on the same page.
“It’s an exciting time going ahead.”
The achievement award builds on recent strides the club has made towards the top table of regional Victorian racing in recent times, including in June securing $500,000 prize purse for its centrepiece Geelong Cup and a rotating race meet for Good Friday next year.