Clubs call for Singleton report to be made public

CENTRAL COAST clubs Gosford and Wyong have united in a call for the Singleton report into the future of racing in the region to be made public.

The report has some explosive recommendations. Fairfax Media understands one of most contentious is that Gosford should be closed within the next four years, leaving just one club on the central coast.

Both clubs have copies of the report but refuse to disclose the recommendations because of confidentiality agreements.

“It just needs to get put out there in the public, so everyone can move on,” Wyong chief executive Tony Drew said. “We can’t comment on it until it is made public.”

Gosford chairman Michael Cusick said it was frustrating two strong clubs were being forced to fight for their existence.

“If we weren’t so close together this wouldn’t be an issue,” Cusick said. “I wouldn’t be so sure that all the recommendations can possibly be carried out, having seen the report.”

Gosford and Wyong are also increasingly frustrated by the fact that every other provincial club has been given grants from the Racing NSW racefields fund to improve training and track facilities.

“We feel as if we are one of the seagulls fighting over the last chip,” Cusick said. “We put forward a strategic plan to Racing NSW in September 2011 with a fully costed plan for improvements to our facilities, and have not heard anything back from them.”

Gosford offered to fund a large part of the $7.5 million plan from its cash reserves, and continues to want to be considered the second site for night racing in NSW.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said the issues in the Singleton report meant the central coast clubs couldn’t be part of the first round of racefields funding but they would be part of it in future.

Several provincial clubs were riled by claims from Hawkesbury chief executive Brian Fletcher at the weekend that his club is ready to talk the racing regulator about a grant for a $7 million grandstand.

Hawkesbury has already received almost $5 million in funding to lengthen its straight and put down irrigation on the track, among other projects, from racefields money.

It received a $1 million advance payment from Racing NSW before the racefields case was concluded to start the projects, which have its course proper out of action.

However, V’landys said the grandstand project was not a priority for Racing NSW given its aims for the racefields funds.

“The money is for improvements to racetracks and training facilities, that is what we need to do,” he said. “It will not be used for grandstands. We need to bring our tracks up to standard before looking at any other infrastructure projects.”

Fletcher also stated on radio on Saturday his goal was to make to Hawkesbury an alternative metropolitan venue in coming years.

It came only days after the NSW Provincial Association made changes to it officer bearers; its chairman of three years, Geoff Barnett from Newcastle, was defeated by Illawarra Turf Club’s Peter De Vries in a vote.

De Vries was nominated by Wyong’s representative Stuart Clancy. Fletcher, who was vice-chairman, stepped down for Gosford chief executive James Heddo to take over in the role.

Fletcher and Barnett will continue roles as delegates from their clubs.

“We will all be moving in the one direction without self-interest and become a stronger association now,” one club official said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


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