Training horses at Caulfield set to cease

Caulfield is set to close as a training base.

Caulfield trainers will have to relocate to other venues within five years, with horse training at the Melbourne racecourse to cease.

The Melbourne Racing Club announced on Monday it had entered into a new lease with the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust securing racing at Caulfield, part of which sits on Crown land, for the next 65 years.

The MRC said there were plans for a second racetrack at the venue and lights for night racing.

An essential requirement of the lease, as directed by the Trust and the state government, was that the community had greater use and access to the Racecourse Reserve.

That means that training of horses at Caulfield will cease within five years with 22 trainers having to find a new base.

“We are happy to have secured the future of racing at the historic site at Caulfield and look forward to facilitating a greater volume of racing through a second track, and the potential of night racing, for our members, industry participants and the racing public,” MRC chairman Peter Le Grand said.

“We welcome the opportunity to share the space with the community to a greater degree, and acknowledge the work of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust and state government in making this a reality.

“At the same time we are conscious of the great impact the relocation will have on our trainers, some of whom have resided at Caulfield for generations.”

Le Grand said the club was committed to a smooth transition for the trainers and would work with them to ensure they had the support needed.

Cranbourne and Pakenham are expected to accommodate many of the trainers with Racing Victoria, the MRC and the state government announcing $40 million funding package to upgrade the facilities at those centres.

The state government will contribute $17.5 million with Racing Victoria and the MRC tipping in $22.6 million for the upgrades.

“RV, the MRC and Government are committed to ensuring that current and future trainers can access facilities at Cranbourne and Pakenham that are at least the equal of Caulfield,” Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said.

Thompson said the first lot of upgrades were expected to be ready by late 2020 for trainers wanting to relocate from Caulfield earlier than the 2023 deadline.