Race club to receive $350k facelift
THE Chinchilla Race Club is getting its biggest facelift in 20 years thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
After the cancellation of Ladies Day Races in April, the club does not have another event until November and December.
In the meantime, restorations and renovations are underway to make the most of the downtime.
Grants have been secured totalling $350,000 for projects including fixing the saddle enclosure, an $80,000 kitchen revamp and upgrading the inside and outside running rails.
"We've been actively trying to get much-needed upgrades to the track and get maintenance done," said Chinchilla Race Club president Don Critch.
"Stay tuned. When things do get going we hope to see many new people because we're always chasing new members.
"It's an exciting time to be part of the Chinchilla Race Club."
Mr Critch said the cancellation of Ladies Day was a shame as "we rely on every bit of money coming in".
The club hosts four major races each year, with the most lucrative being the Christmas races in December.
"We make about 80 per cent of our money in December so it's very, very important to us," he said.
"It's very important to us to have the crowd there otherwise it's just like another industry-only meeting."
Travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have limited the distance jockeys can travel to race and prize money has almost halved.
But many in the racing industry have held onto their jobs and are keeping on track for the future.
"It's tough but at least we have kept some form of racing going," said Mr Critch.
He said the industry looked on track to emerge relatively unscathed from the pandemic.
"At this stage it's looking positive but who knows what could happen if we have another outbreak."