From Showground to Paceway . . . Tamworth will still have it all

Tamworth Showground, which earlier this year was purchased by Harness Racing New South Wales, will now be officially known as the Tamworth Paceway but little will change with the facility to focus on existing uses but grow in time.

From Showground to Paceway . . . Tamworth will still have it all

Tamworth Showground, which earlier this year was purchased by Harness Racing New South Wales, will now be officially known as the Tamworth Paceway but little will change with the facility to focus on existing uses but grow in time.

Whilst the Tamworth Show will be held at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC), the harness racing will continue with strength next season and HRNSW is encouraging all current operators to continue activities at the site and will be welcoming others to use the property.

These current uses include reigning, team penning, quarter horse, welsh ponies, stock horses, cattle and poultry and they are all welcome to continue their events at the Paceway.

HRNSW has also committed to continuing the wider community initiatives of the Tamworth Pastoral & Agricultural Association with the on-going monthly markets, which the P & A Association will coordinate.

The gymnasium and boxing academy, Westside Boxing Club operated by Mike Abra which has assisted with the youth of the Tamworth region and the local area police command, will continue to operate at the Paceway. The police force members train at the gym whilst local youth are encouraged to improve their focus on life’s opportunities under the guidance of those around them.

HRNSW Board Member Chris Edwards was extremely enthusiastic in relation to the future of the former Showground.

“This property offers so much to so many,” Mr Edwards said

“To the harness racing participants and followers in the region they have a permanent home, Tamworth Paceway.

“To the agricultural community of Tamworth and surrounds, instead of an industrial estate they will be able to utilise a purpose-built facility for horses, cattle, poultry and all other livestock where they are able to be accommodated.

“The many buildings on the Paceway also offer so many opportunities for other activities.

“We (HRNSW) are only too pleased to be involved and able to contribute to the wider community in that respect but as far as harness racing is concerned the future is assured and there is a very bright future here in the North West Region,” Mr Edwards concluded.

NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole said the measures are a strong vote of confidence in the future of harness racing in Tamworth.

“It’s extremely pleasing to see these positive developments that lock in harness racing as an important social and community sport in the Tamworth region,” Mr Toole said.

“I congratulate HRNSW for making sure the other existing users are included in the future of the venue.

“It’s a great example of people working together for the benefit of the entire community.”

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said country racing is part of our social fabric, which is why investment in local facilities is so important.

“It’s great to see that the old showground site will continue to be put to good use. Investment into the facilities at the Tamworth Paceway is an investment into our racing fraternity which should be supported and encouraged,” Mr Anderson said.

Mayor of the Tamworth Regional Council Col Murray said his Council was pleased with the future outlook for the former Showground.

“Tamworth Regional Council is pleased with the current direction adopted by HRNSW in not only securing the future of harness racing in the city but a range of other activities on the property.”

President of the Tamworth P & A Association Brett Nies welcomed the continued agricultural use of the former Showground.

“Our Association will retain a close connection to the old Showground as our headquarters remain virtually on the property on the adjoining block,” he said.

“Our office will be located in Showground Road but we will be conducting the Show in 2018 and beyond out at AELEC.

“It is satisfying however to know that the harness racing organisation will have an agricultural focus on future activities and they are more than mindful of the needs of the local community.

“I’m glad it was harness racing who secured the property to continue the traditional uses.”

Naturally the focus will be on harness racing and in the 2017/18 season a record 26 meetings are scheduled for the Paceway under the auspices of the Tamworth Harness Racing Club.

Tamworth Harness Racing Club Chair Julie Maughan was pleased that the determination of the location of the harness racing track was finalised after a 10-year wait.

"The Board of the Tamworth HRC and I are thrilled to know that we have a great location and facility to now permanently call home. I know our Members are pleased with the announcement as well,” Ms Maughan said.

"Harness racing in Tamworth has always been here on these grounds and to continue our association is a positive move not only for the members but for the harness racing fraternity in general - they have a permanent home.

"Moving forward harness racing will jump out of the ground in Tamworth and the North West because of the backing from the Board of HRNSW."

The NSW Mini Trotting Championships is the first major event held at the Paceway since HRNSW ‘officially’ took over the running of the property. It is planned to conduct the Mini Trotting Championships annually at Tamworth Paceway. The Championship attracted 180 ponies this year and can only grow with a permanent home which has all the amenities required for this four-day event.

HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny endorsed the decision of the Board to allocate the Mini Trotting Championships to Tamworth Paceway.

“This property is ideal for the Mini Trot Championships as it has ample stables and most importantly established camping facilities. The other amenities assist with the operational aspects of the Championship and what’s more Tamworth is the horse capital of Australia!” Mr Dumesny said.

“The Championships are a fantastic experience for our young competitors and a holiday with the family and friends during the four-day Easter break makes for a really great time.”

The Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association will also hold the State Championships at Tamworth Paceway in 2018.

HRNSW has already engaged GHD Tamworth to master plan the Paceway with commitments already given and underway with a new harness racing officials tower, race stalls roof, permanent training stables upgrade and grandstand extension all of which is budgeted to $2million from the Harness Racing Racecourse Development Fund.

“The Board gave a commitment to the harness racing fraternity firstly to the continuation of racing in the North West Region and now confirms that commitment through the $4.6million purchase and the improvements to the Paceway,” Mr Dumesny said.

“In time the strategy is to have more than 100 horses permanently stabled and trained from the Tamworth Paceway.”

HRNSW will be appointing an Operations Officer and Grounds person however in the interim the Tamworth P & A Secretary Suz Rodd will be coordinating activities at the Paceway.

“HRNSW is extremely grateful to the P & A for their genuine and professional dealings with us during the past few months,” Mr Dumesny said.

“Brett (Nies), Greg (Townsend), Geoff (Hoy) and Suz (Rodd) have been magnificent to work with during the purchase negotiations and the changeover of ownership.

“To now offer to continue to assist with the ongoing operations whilst the Association vacates the Showground proves their dedication to all concerned in the Tamworth.

“This group’s advocacy in relation to supporting the current users and tenants of the property and securing tenure through discussions with the HRNSW Board Members and myself has been extremely admirable.”

Harness Racing NSW

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