New South Wales is one step closer to having Australia’s first racing academy after Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’landys indicated he will support an application by TAFE for a $15 million facility to be built at Warwick Farm.
Following a meeting between the Australian Turf Club, Racing NSW and TAFE, the parties agreed to make an application for funding which will turn Warwick Farm’s old tote building into a state of the art training centre for the racing industry.
“This is something we needed because our industry is under-resourced when it comes to trackwork riders, stable hands and jockeys,” V’landys said.
“Everyone is supportive of trying to get this academy over the line, and Warwick Farm is the perfect place for it, but we need between $10 and $15 million to set it up properly.”
“It would not just be for apprentices but to train stable hands and the other members of the racing industry, and it would become a great asset.
“Our apprentices already undertake TAFE courses as part of their training but we need to have teaching facilities for them. There is the possibility of some federal funding that would help us to establish it.”
Veteran NSW trainer Pat Webster is also in favour of the plan.
“We need a place where the young people can call home,” Webster said.
“Everyone recognises that and agrees it should be done at Warwick Farm. It is just a case of getting it done. There has been a lot of talk, now we need some action.”
There is a chance that the academy could be based at Canterbury until such time as government funding becomes available after ATC Chairman John Cornish offered the soon to be vacated Canterbury offices as a teaching facility.
“The ATC believes this project is something the industry needs to go forward and is extremely supportive of the concept,” Cornish said.
“We were a little disappointed that there is no funding in place yet, but we are prepared to help out with somewhere for the apprentice school until the funding comes through.
“It still has to go to my board, but I have offered some space at our Canterbury offices, once the staff moves out. It is on a racecourse. It would be a good starting point for an apprentice school.”