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Major Racing Boost for Hawkesbury amid Rosehill Shake-up

Dec 20, 2023

Racing NSW has recently purchased two properties near Hawkesbury Race Club as NSW witnesses a generational overhaul of Sydney racetracks, lead by the $5 billion possible sale of Rosehill Gardens.

Racing NSW told the Hawkesbury Post, that it plans to build 150 new stables on the edge of the Hawkesbury racecourse that will increase the number of horses stabled at the HRC by almost 30 percent. It has also purchased two properties adjacent to the racetrack which will be leased out to trainers. 

Rosehill Gardens Racecourse may be sold off by the Australian Turf Club (ATC) to build 25,000 homes to house up to 100,000 people. The announcement shocked many in the racing industry including leading trainer Gai Waterhouse who has asked the government and ATC to reconsider the move. Other trainers, such as Wayne Hawkes have come out in favour of the massive cash injection the deal will give the ATC.

Hawkesbury Race Club CEO James Heddo told the Hawkesbury Post that HRC was well positioned to take on more horses and is open to discussions about any additional workload as may be required.

“Currently we have about 250 horses use the training facility each morning, that’s only at about 40% capacity of what we could cater for but that depends on increased stabling. Racing NSW have bought land adjacent to the racecourse with a view to building stabling,” Heddo said.

“We have certainly indicated we are very excited with any opportunity to expand our racing and training program and are more than happy to be working with Racing NSW to achieve positive outcomes. The sale of Rosehill is only a proposal at this stage and may be five to ten years but I do believe Hawkesbury is well positioned to take some of that workload that Rosehill currently have,” he said.

Hawkesbury Race Club CEO James Heddo says the Club is ready to become premium racing and training facility.

Hawkesbury Race Club is on majority Crown about 15 years into a 99 year lease. Unlike Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury Racecourses it is not owned by the ATC. Racing NSW is the peak body that oversees the governance and development of all race courses in NSW.

The Hawkesbury has long been Australia’s leading equine precinct, catering to a multitude of horse activities from pleasure riding and show horses to polo to the Olympics disciplines of eventing, dressage and show jumping  –  as well as  racing. The industry is a major contributor to the local economy in terms of jobs, supporting local businesses and tourism. However, as is seen in many semi-rural areas, the equine industry is at risk of being squeezed out due to urban sprawl and turning productive farm land into housing estates. But as the Minns state government halts development on the vast western Sydney flood plain, it may have been given a reprieve.                                                                   

“I’m hopeful that Hawkesbury Council will see the employment and economic benefits that may present themselves with the further development of Hawkesbury Racecourse as a premium racing and training centre,” Heddo said.

“It is a perfect location as an equine destination and any future developments will require Hawkesbury Council to support. I’d like to think they’d see an opportunity here to say it’s going to create employment. It’s going to create economic benefit to the region. Let’s support this as best we can,” he said.

 

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