The are plans to transform a proposed mine site near Sydney into a punters oasis modelled on the UK’s upscale town of Newmarket.
The preferred site is a greenfield near Berrima, New South Wales – a coal mining town and historic destination in the state’s Southern Highlands, less than two hours from Sydney.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys told The Sydney Morning Herald a new racecourse would be ‘centred around a country town, which would be revitalised by the investment and become Australia’s Newmarket’.
Britain’s Newmarket is said to be the birthplace of thoroughbred horse racing, and is best known for prestigious and royal events frequented by the British monarchy for generations.
While the old town of Berrima doesn’t share Newmarket’s royal history and made headlines last year when NSW officials rejected a coal proposal in the area, Racing NSW see the site as an opportunity.
The organisation said city racecourses are at capacity – and Mr V’landys said they’re seriously considering the site because ‘it’s not easy to find that much land’.
Racing NSW said their vision is to give trainers the opportunity to invest in assets by allowing them to buy land and build their own stables, rather than renting over a long period of time.
The racecourse would be environmentally friendly and the design would provide miles of straight track so the horses wouldn’t be consistently turning like they do on other Australian racing facilities.
Racing NSW have spent $88 million to improve existing tracks in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, and have set aside close to $100 million for upgrades and prize money for The Championships and the $45 million Everest carnival.