Stawell Racing Club has just received new state-of-the-art starting gates.
The club was able to bid farewell to its 50-year-old starting gates following the announcement of joint Victorian Government and racing industry funding of $31,000 to buy a new set.
Liberal Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay said the new gates (also called barriers), used for training purposes, would improve safety at the track and provide better conditions for jockeys and horses.
"The existing gates are more than five decades old and no longer meet the required industry standard for racing and training," Mr Ramsay said.
"New state-of-the-art gates will allow the club to continue ongoing barrier training, providing better education for the horse and a safer working environment for horses, jockeys, starters and barrier attendants.
"The Victorian Government and Racing Victoria are each providing $15,500 towards the replacement starting gates," Mr Ramsay said.
Wimmera Racing Club manager Penny Penfold welcomed the funding announcement, saying that local trainers would be thrilled to have a brand new set of practice barriers at Stawell.
"Stawell is home to the region's largest training centre and a reliable set of practice barriers for use by trainers and riders to educate horses is essential to the smooth operation of the training centre.
"The new practice barriers will enable us to run regular jumpouts and eliminate the need to hire barriers from other regional centres.
"We are very grateful to the Government and Racing Victoria for their contribution to this project and their continued support of Stawell Racing Club and racing throughout the Wimmera," Ms Penfold said.
Premier and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said the Coalition Government was committed to ensuring that Victoria's racing industry continues to grow and provide economic and social benefits to the community.
"The government's $79.5 million Victorian Racing Industry Fund is critical in supporting these racing infrastructure projects and reflects the importance of growing the tens of thousands of racing industry jobs in Victoria," Dr Napthine said.
"Racing is an important industry in the Wimmera and provides over $34 million in annual economic benefit to the region," he said.