Shock plan revealed to sell off Rosehill racecourse

Rosehill Gardens will be sold off and turned into a ready-made community, with up to 25,000 new homes, a metro station, and a school.

This is assuming the NSW government will play ball with the Australian Turf Club’s proposal, which will see the tax-payer take the asset off the ATC’s hands, in exchange for “up to $5 billion”.

This money will be invested into “racing and racing infrastructure”, according to the ATC, with racing and training “moved in stages” from Rosehill Gardens to new tracks by the end of the decade.

ATC Chairman Peter McGauran said the proposal “future-proofs Sydney racing for a century to come” and “will cement Sydney racing as the best, most modern and financially secure jurisdiction anywhere in the world.”.

It does, however, seem like a downscaling, especially given Victoria Race Club’s financial woes ($45 million in operating losses over the past three years; $63 million in bank debt), as well as the shifting public sentiment regarding turf racing.

The industry’s biggest day, The Melbourne Cup, has also seen dwindling interest, with last year’s race drawing the lowest TV audience in two decades. Myer also withdrew its sponsorship this year, after a 40-year relationship, seeing the Cup without a major fashion sponsor for the first time in four decades.

All of this suggests a broader move away from racing – and that the Turf Club have read the writing on the wall.

The ATC insists not, and says it will invest in a new training Centre of Excellence at Horsley Park to cater for current Rosehill Gardens stables and extra trainers; the development of Warwick Farm with a “new world-class track and a full rebuild of training, stabling and spectator facilities”; an increase in the size of the course at Canterbury Park; and an expansion of the stables and training infrastructure at Royal Randwick.

Several sites across Sydney “will be earmarked and investigated for a new, world-class racecourse”, too.

“All of the NSW racing industry from the trainers, jockeys, stable-hands, staff, to our members and all racegoers will reap the benefits,” said McGauran.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure racing, along with the ATC contributing to the community and economy in helping to ease the housing shortage in Sydney.”

This proposal is subject to the NSW Government’s unsolicited proposal process, although Premier Minns is expected to announce he has signed a memorandum of understanding today.


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