By Luke Voogt
Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien will nearly triple his Geelong Racecourse stable spaces with a $1.32 million boost from state government and Geelong Racing Club.
“It’s a really good stepping stone,” Danny O’Brien Racing general manager Matt Harrington told the Independent.
“This development is really going to allow us to expand our business in the area.
“And it gives us the opportunity to aim at some of the bigger races from our Geelong base.”
Racing Minister Martin Pakula on Tuesday announced $660,000 for the project, with Geelong Racing Club matching the amount.
“This is a significant investment in the future of Geelong as a training centre and a provider of jobs in training and supply chain businesses,” he said.
“That these new stables have already been secured is a major vote of confidence in the Geelong racing industry and the vision of the Geelong Racing Club.”
The amount will fund two new barns for 40 horses at Geelong Racecourse, complete with wash bays, tie-up stalls, a horse walker and solar power.
O’Brien established a base in Geelong last May with about two dozen spaces at the racecourse, with the new barns to be established next to the existing facility.
He also trains and rotates horses through bases at Thirteenth Beach and Flemington.
Local firm Plan Group will construct the stables creating about 20 jobs during construction, which government expects to be completed later this year.
The ongoing training operation will support up to 20 jobs and provide a significant boost to the local racing industry, according to government.
“This investment is a real win-win for the club, securing a steady income stream and boosting our profile,” Geelong Racing Club president Peter Murrihy said.
“We’re grateful for the Victorian Government’s support.”
Since 2014 state government has approved more than $3.5 million to support 19 infrastructure projects and 14 events at Geelong Racecourse.
This includes a recent investment supporting a $145,000 upgrade of 60 existing on-course stables and track’s float car park.
Geelong’s racing industry generates more than $95 million for the Victorian economy each year and helps sustain more than 780 full-time-equivalent jobs, according to government.
“The Geelong Racing Club is an integral part of our region as a generator of income and jobs, and also as a community drawcard,” Geelong MP Christine Couzens said.