Racing Victoria (RV) has today announced that work to construct the new tie-up stalls at bet365 Park Kilmore will see the dual-code venue unable to host race meetings throughout the first half of 2024.
The major project, which has been underpinned by a significant funding contribution from the Labor Government’s Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF), was announced earlier this year and will see the new tie-up stalls housed inside a large barn.
The barn will include 114 tie-up stalls, new veterinary facilities, horse urinals and wash bays, and cater for over 40 thoroughbred and harness racing meetings annually, along with trials.
With primary works to commence following the bet365 Kilmore Cup meeting on 26 November 2023, the track will be unable to host nine thoroughbred meetings programmed from January to May 2024.
The meeting on Monday, 6 May 2024 will be transferred to TAB Park Werribee and the meeting on Thursday, 23 May 2024 will be transferred to Tatura.
Following a review of the racing calendar and analysis of historical race field data through the period, RV has determined not to transfer the seven meetings programmed in January to April 2024 to other venues.
RV will instead monitor the horse population throughout the period and look to divide races, as well as utilise the new unallocated race initiative, should the need arise.
The five meetings in February, March and April that won’t be rescheduled were programmed on Thursday and Friday afternoons prior to night meetings.
The meeting on Tuesday, 30 January 2024 will be replaced by a bet365 Benalla meeting which moves from Thursday, 1 February 2024 to provide consistent racing across the week.
RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Matt Welsh, said: “This is a very exciting project for Kilmore and one that both thoroughbred and harness racing participants and officials will welcome, particularly in inclement and colder weather.
“With the need to cease racing at Kilmore in the first half of 2024 to undergo this significant upgrade, we took a good look at the calendar and race field data and have elected to transfer two of the nine meetings.
“There are lots of opportunities for country horses during January to April as a result of the night racing and picnic circuits being in full swing, and that will include over 30 meetings throughout the Central and Goulburn Murray regions in Victoria’s north and north-east.
“We also noted that the average field size in country meetings dips to 9.3 starters per race in January to April, compared to an average of 10.2 starters for the remainder of the year.
“As always, we’ll monitor the horse population and acceptance rates throughout this period and where necessary we will divide and add races to ensure opportunities abound for all.”