By CAITLIN CROWLEY
THE THUNDER of thoroughbreds is returning to the Outback Queensland town of Charleville after more than two years without a race meet, with a major rebuild of the local track’s troubled surface and facilities now complete.
It’s been a long time coming for the region’s racehorse trainers and racing stalwarts, who will get their local racing fix at the club’s first meet on October 1, before the track’s official reopening on Saturday October 28.
Murweh Shire Council Mayor Shaun ‘Zoro’ Radnedge said the community had been missing the social side of races, with the track usually hosting eight to ten race meetings a year.
“It’s bigger than just racing – it’s a social event which holds our community together,” Zoro said.
“The Charleville Race Club have gone two years without a race meeting so look out – on the 28th of October it’s going to definitely be on.
“I’m very confident, the track looks amazing – I can’t wait to see thundering hooves come down that straight – very confident that we’re on the right track now.”
Murweh Shire Council identified the need for improvements back in June 2021, but after an initial upgrade project was completed in November that year, a Racing Queensland (RQ) review found the need for further work.
A Racing Queensland spokesperson told the Caller, RQ brought forward a track rebuild which was due to be undertaken this financial year, in consultation with Murweh Shire Council and the Central Warrego Race Club.
With that work now complete, Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) stewards will be attending jump outs at the track next week, ahead of the first meeting on October 1.
Racing Minister Grace Grace joined Murweh Shire Council Mayor Shaun ‘Zoro’ Radnedge to inspect the freshly completed track upgrade earlier this week.
“It’s fantastic to see the race track in such good condition out here in Charleville,” Grace said.
“I’ve been convinced as a Minister for Racing that country racing really is a lifeblood of a lot of these local communities.
“We have about 125 tracks right throughout Queensland and most of them race only once a year.
“Charleville is unique – it’s a fantastic race club – we have a terrific racecourse now and it’s fantastic to seeing racing return here in Outback Queensland.
“We’ve invested heavily to make sure that this track is now world class and I’m so excited that racing will soon begin.”
Grace said she will be back in Charleville for the festivities planned for October 28.