Rockhampton Jockey Club set for $2.3m in upgrades

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Callaghan Park, Rockhampton

The Jockey Club (RJC) has been granted A$2.3 million by the State Government and in order to upgrade the female jockeys' rooms and improve the venue's flood resilience.

Callaghan Park is currently able to cater for only four female jockeys on race days, but the proposed upgrades will more than triple the capacity of the rooms – just in time for the second running of The Archer in May 2023.

The Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, made the announcement at 's launch.

“At present, Rockhampton Jockey Club can only cater for four female jockeys in its current rooms,” he said.

“This will take that number up to 15, with improved recovery facilities.

“The new facilities will support 23 jobs during construction and are scheduled to be completed in time for the second running of The Archer next May.

“Our Government understands how important events like The Archer and this weekend's Rockhampton Cup are to a city like this.

“It's why we're delivering a new, sustainable funding model for Racing Queensland which sees all bookmakers pay their fair share, no matter where they are based.”

Also included in the $2.3 million boost is an upgrade to administration offices at Callaghan Park, which have been prone to flooding in recent years.

The Member for Rockhampton, Barry O'Rourke, said it will allow the RJC to “get on with the job” during the summer months, when floods have regularly occurred in the region.

“Sitting beside the Fitzroy means Callaghan Park will always face some risk of flooding,” Mr O'Rourke said.

“By moving these offices up to the first floor we can reduce the impact of future natural disasters and allow RJC to get on with the job of delivering great events for our region.”

With the region's racing firmly on at this time of year with the running of Friday's Rockhampton and Saturday's Rockhampton Cup, Racing Minister said the upgrades will only add to the contribution the club already makes to Queensland racing.

“Racing plays a key role in Central Queensland. On an annual basis, it contributes more than $55 million to the local economy, while providing more than 450 full-time jobs,” she said.

“The Callaghan Park upgrades are befitting its standing as one of Queensland's key regional racing centres, catering for our ever-growing female riding ranks, whilst also providing much-needed flood resilience for the club.”

Just two months following the highly successful first running of The Archer, RJC Chair was appreciative of the support from racing bodies.

With a number of young jockeys and trainers starting their careers in Central Queensland, Carr is confident it will be money well spent for the greater good of Queensland racing.

“Rockhampton Jockey Club is one of the busiest racing facilities across the state with close to 40 meetings staged each year,” he said.

“Ours is the busiest racing club outside the South-East corner and a nursery for young jockeys and trainers. The region hosts nine pony clubs, which are always a great starting point for track riders and potentially apprentice jockeys.

“The RJC recognises the importance of racing to the state and its significance to the community in regional Australia.

“We are very appreciative of the State Government and Racing Queensland for their support.”

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