BATTERED: Emerald’s Pioneer Park took a hammering from the record-breaking flood and the fall-out has left the racing club with a hefty repair bill. sw-120111-800
BATTERED: Emerald’s Pioneer Park took a hammering from the record-breaking flood and the fall-out has left the racing club with a hefty repair bill. sw-120111-800

“WE could race tomorrow if we wanted to.”

That was the message from Emerald Jockey Club’s Leon Roberts when he toured the flood-damaged Pioneer Park race track on Wednesday.

In comparison to Callaghan Park in Rockhampton, the damage sustained to Pioneer Park was relatively insignificant.

However, trying to find funds to fix a problem the budget hadn’t accounted for was a definite handicap.

The main running track is intact as is the club’s buildings.

The major damage exists on the inside training track where deep culverts have been torn along the barrier fence.

“At a guess it will cost about $40,000 to $50,000 to fix,” Roberts said.

It’s estimated at least a few feet of water washed through the race track, lifting sand and dumping it on the other side of the fence.

But Roberts was optimistic the club could recover quickly from the setback.

“Hopefully in a week or so we can get up and going again,” he said.

Michael Priddle from the Department of Sport and Recreation also surveyed the damage to the racecourse and said while he wasn’t making any promises, they were doing their very best to service the needs of all sporting clubs in the region.

“We’ll help out where we can but naturally roads and infrastructure will probably take priority,” Priddle said.

“I’ve been around to a few places and there’s a lot of damage everywhere… some of the holes at the golf course are still underwater.”

Local mining company BMA approached council and asked if there were sporting organisations in need of financial assistance.

Part of Priddle’s job now is to assess each club’s situation and prioritise where such grants would be of most benefit.

For Pioneer Park, the outlook was good.

The track was useable in parts but would pose a serious risk to both horse and rider.

Leon said some gallopers would be better than others negotiating the course craters.

“The older horses wouldn’t mind, they’ll just run in a straight line. It’s the younger ones which could get a bit spooked and fall in,” he said.

Other repairs not of immediate concern but still need attention include the perimeter fence and a waterlogged ride-on lawnmower.

RACING Queensland has allocated $1 million dollars in support of regional racing facilities affected by the Queensland flood crisis.

Clubs have been advised to contact Col Truscott at RQ to register any areas where major damage has occurred.

Already a number of regional clubs have recorded issues of significant importance including Warick, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Capalaba.

RQ flood relief grants:

 Trainers (Rockhampton only) – up to $7500

 Jockeys and apprentices- $2000

 Trackwork riders, full-time forepersons and full-time stablehands - $2000

 Additional grants for relocation costs

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