Cushion tracks gaining popularity despite set backs

The Gold Coast’s proposed new supertrack at Palm Meadows is officially doomed.

Queensland Racing Limited (QRL) chairman Bob Bentley said the Palm Meadows proposal was off the agenda as it was dependent on Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho being granted a licence for a private casino on the site.

“It’s (the Palm Meadows proposal) over now,” Bentley said.
“It’s no longer feasible because of the world economic crisis.
“It needed a backer to be viable. I have discussed it (Palm Meadows) with the Queensland government but they didn’t want to be in it.”
Ho owns the Palm Meadows site but Bentley was hopeful the new supertrack would be given the green light with financial assistance from the Queensland Government.
Bentley said QRL was now in talks with the Queensland Government about providing financial assistance to fund redevelopment at the current Gold Coast track at Bundall.
He said a cushion track similar to Caloundra’s artificial track, a tunnel under the grass track and widening and cambering of the course proper were being considered for the Gold Coast.
“The Gold Coast needs a synthetic track for training,” Bentley said.
“The club is in favour of it and it could be built on the inside of the course proper.
“Because of workplace and safety concerns a tunnel would have to be built under the course proper as well.
“And there’s plans to do major upgrading work to the course proper.”
Meanwhile, Bentley praised members of the Toowoomba Turf Club who narrowly voted on Monday night to give the go ahead for a cushion track at Clifford Park.
Work will begin next week on Toowoomba’s cushion track which will replace the current course proper.
Caloundra will stage twilight race meetings from next Saturday until a $10 million refurbishment at Toowoomba is completed in July.
“I’m very pleased for the stakeholders in Toowoomba who voted in favour of the cushion track,” Bentley said.
“It was only commonsense.
“If trainers don’t want to use the new cushion track then there’s plenty of other places they can go in south-east Queensland.”

By Glenn Davis