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Big Announcement for Sydney Racing - Rosehill to be sold off - Lesson for Avondale ?


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By Tim Rowe

Racing at the home of the world’s richest two-year-old race to cease in five years

Sydney’s Rosehill racecourse, home to the Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) and the $10 million Golden Eagle (1500m), could be sold for upwards of $5 billion and redeveloped over the next decade in a bombshell proposal that will change the Sydney racing landscape forever. 

Talks will begin in earnest between the Minns Labor government and the Australian Turf Club to sell off the inner west racing precinct, with the repurposed land to have 25,000 homes and a new metro train station constructed on it in a bid to alleviate Sydney’s chronic housing shortage and transport congestion.

If the multibillion dollar project goes ahead, Rosehill could cease to exist as a racing venue in five years’ time.

The astronomical financial windfall for racing in Australia’s most populous city if the ATC can strike the deal means plans are being drawn up to relocate impacted trainers, which includes the premier stable of Chris Waller, to Horsley Park about 24 kilometres west of Rosehill. 

A Centre of Excellence with 300 to 400 stables, training tracks and associated infrastructure would be built alongside the International Equestrian Centre to accommodate the displaced trainers, if the government agrees to handover the Horsley Park site to the ATC and Racing NSW.

Tens of millions of dollars would also be spent on Warwick Farm in a major overhaul to bring its racecourse, stables and dilapidated spectator facilities up to scratch, while a significant amount of money would also be invested on a complete rebuild of Canterbury.

Significantly, for the long-term sustainability of racing in Sydney, the ATC and Racing NSW would also look for a greenfield site to build another metropolitan racecourse to compensate for the loss of Rosehill, which has been hosting racing since 1885.

While early negotiations have taken place, it appears the plans to sell the ATC-owned Rosehill have been a well-kept secret, which led to local trainers being blindsided by Wednesday’s stunning announcement. 

It leaves Waller, Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes, Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou, Richard and Will Freedman, Lee and Cherie Curtis and David Payne among those who will be looking for a new training home. Fewer than 300 horses are currently trained out of Rosehill.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys was unable to discuss the proposal, citing a confidentiality deed which was to expire late on Wednesday night.

It is believed the ATC approached the government about selling Rosehill lock, stock and barrel in an unsolicited offer after initially exploring the possibility of re-zoning a parcel of the precinct where the local bowling club and circus site is situated. 

Another Sydney racecourse, the innercity Canterbury, has long been earmarked for development, but its land value is currently sitting at about $500 million, a tenth of what selling off Rosehill would add to the Australian Turf Club’s coffers.

In an email to members sent at about 9pm on Wednesday night, ATC chairman Peter McGauran wrote: “It is a compelling, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our racing industry, completely securing its future. 

“An estimated $5 billion in revenue will be returned to the ATC and the racing industry.

“These funds will ensure all our racecourses and facilities, and member and race day experiences are the very best in the world – for many decades into the future.

“Importantly, today’s announcement is just a first step. Members will be fully informed and consulted throughout this historic journey.”

It is believed that Racing NSW is not opposed to the ATC offloading Rosehill as long as the financial windfall from the sale of the Parramatta racecourse is used for the betterment of the industry, which includes huge upgrades of Warwick Farm and Canterbury.

Premier Chris Minns has reportedly become increasingly receptive to the idea of the government taking over Rosehill, describing it as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity”.

“The ATC sees this as a chance to secure the future of racing in NSW,” Minns said.

“The government sees this as an opportunity to put its money where its mouth is and build more housing, close to transport links, with plenty of green space for new families.

“This is exactly the type of proposal my government has been talking about over the last six months.”

Since 2011, the merged Australian Turf Club has operated Sydney’s racecourses Randwick, Canterbury, Warwick Farm and Rosehill.

While no decisions have been made, given the early nature of the ATC’s negotiations, it is likely that the $5 million Golden Slipper, the world’s richest race for two-year-olds that has been run at Rosehill since 1957, would be conducted at Randwick once Rosehill is closed.

Randwick, which also has the inner Kensington track, could host an additional six to eight meetings a year if Rosehill was lost to the racing schedule.

If the greenfield racecourse is built, feature races such as the Slipper and Golden Eagle, the $10 million race for four-year-olds, could also become their new home, but as for potential sites for that racecourse, it is unclear at this stage where they could be.

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Yes, mark this well, Avondale JC boofheads.

One eyebrow-raising aspect for Max here: if the sale of Rosehill is being considered to solve housing/congestion crisis, how would the creation of another metropolitan course assist?

the ATC and Racing NSW would also look for a greenfield site to build another metropolitan racecourse to compensate for the loss of Rosehill,


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Max, I'm guessing a little here but the proposed site which is currently the Sydney International Equestrian Centre is a zoned "green area" so unable to be built on. Located right next to the M7 Motorway in Western Sydney it would be easily accessible although exacerbates the issue for Sydney's Eastern City, CBD-dwellers and certainly North Sydney residents who quail at the though of even entering Western Sydney for any reason. When I lived there I knew numerous people who would never venture beyond Sydney Olympic Park for anything. They call it the Wild West. However Horsley Park isn't exactly Blacktown ! The non-green part (across the other side of the M7) has a fair component of light industrial.


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I note that ATC own Rosehill, but they talk about the sale securing the future of Racing in NSW.

Also Racing NSW is not opposed to the sale, as long as the money is used for the betterment of Racing in NSW.

Isn't that a far cry from the stance taken in NZ with regards to NZTR and Avondale 

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I can recall Curious saying, that the Racing Act 2020 clarified that ownership of a racing club's land and assets rested with NZTR.  This was ambiguous in the 2003 Act

Correct me, and apologies if I am misquoting you.

If that is the case, then the way should be open to proceed with the sale of Avondale, for the benefit of the entire racing industry.  Or are NZTR in discussion with Avondale about future strategy.

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