DIFFERENT sort of horsepower, in the shape of heavy machinery, took over as a $3million major works program started this week at Broadmeadow racecourse.
Newcastle Jockey Club aims to have two new training tracks open at Broadmeadow by the end of July, a project Broadmeadow-based trainers have been crying out for.
NJC chief executive Cameron Williams said work had begun on a new sand track, and when it was completed a replacement Pro-Ride track would be built.
The sand will replace a small cinders track.
The NJC is also looking at making the number two grass into a racing surface.
“That is our ultimate goal,’’ Williams said. ‘‘We are looking to have both the sand and Pro-Ride tracks in operation by the end of July.
“This comes on top of the major renovation work done to the course proper late last year to remove undulations.
‘‘I am sure these upgrades will be welcomed by trainers, owners and trackwork riders alike.”
The Daracon Group, which started work on the project this week, will also undertake civil engineering works for a new base and drainage before the replacement Pro-Ride track is installed.
‘‘The new drainage system is a vital part of the master plan for Broadmeadow,’’ Williams said.
The current track was installed only in November 2003, but its normal life expectancy was shortened by the massive storm that hit Newcastle in June 2007 and flooded many parts of the city, including Broadmeadow.
‘‘The tracks being worked on now are for slow work, but hopefully they will be OK,’’ Newcastle and Districts Trainers Association president Peter Eggleston said.
■ Slick Newcastle sprinter Welkom Gold is ready to resume from injury after another impressive trial this week.
The seven-year-old gelding by Johannesburg out of With Ease Louise, which was sired by the great Luskin Star, has won six of 19 already and $321,250 in prizemoney.
Welkom Gold won his second trial this preparation on Tuesday when he scored in a field of 10 at Rosehill over 900metres. That followed his win at Wyong in an 800m barrier trial on April 27.
He has not raced since injuring a tendon after finishing second at Rosehill on November 13, 2010.
‘‘He really flew in his trial at Rosehill,’’ trainer Darren Smith said.
‘‘He is ready to get back to the races, and the way he is going he could show his old form, which is great.
‘‘He looked like being a top sprinter before being injured.’’
Smith has asked Peter Robl to ride Welkom Gold next Friday at Scone.
‘‘I thought Jimmy Cassidy would ride him but he already had a ride,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Peter rode him in the trial and was keen to stick with him.’’
Welkom Gold will run in the $120,000 listed quality handicap over 1100m at Scone on Saturday week.
■ Newcastle-based syndicators Australian Bloodstock have sold their smart two-year-old Ockham’s Razor to Hong Kong for what is believed to be a high six-figure sum.
The colt was bought at the premier sales in New Zealand for $150,000.
He was trained in Melbourne by Anthony Freedman and went back to New Zealand to win the listed Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 29.
‘‘The syndicate had a lot of fun in a short time with him, but the overseas offer was too good to refuse,’’ Australian Bloodstock principal Jamie Lovett said.
The Karaka Million, worth a million Kiwi dollars, is New Zealand’s richest race over 1200m.
Ockham’s Razor, which is by Any Suggestion, gave his owners, who include Newcastle interests, a big profit on their outlay.
Australian Bloodstock’s German import Marwingo has come through his third-placed run in the Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast on Saturday well.
‘‘We are hoping he gets a run in the Doomben Cup and he may be aimed at the Brisbane Cup,’’ Lovett said.
■ Newcastle trainer Kris Lees can complete a good week in the city when I’m Mary Too runs the benchmark80 Nepean Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill tomorrow.
I’m Mary Too failed at her previous run at Randwick on the Kensington track.
‘‘She is drawn well [in barrier two], which helps on Saturday,’’ Lees said. ‘‘At her previous run she missed the kick and was wide and never in the race, which can happen on the Kenso track.’’
Lees scored when Flying Hope continued on her winning way by taking out the Tom Brassel Memorial Handicap (1300m) at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Flying Hope, a filly by Flying Spur out of Pink Mogul, was a $110,000 yearling at the Sydney Easter Sales of 2010.
She also won at Newcastle on April 28 in a 1300 maiden.
‘‘She is a progressive filly, but she did get all the favours with a fast speed up front,’’ Lees said.
■ New Newcastle trainer Trevor Bailey had another four horses arrive from Brisbane this week to bolster his stable.
‘‘We now have 13 at Broadmeadow and things are starting to get going for me,’’ Bailey said.
He has Hollyweird in the Nepean Handicap at Rosehill tomorrow.
‘‘She has had a couple of runs for me and is showing she has ability,’’ Bailey said.
‘‘She ran in a listed race in Brisbane before I came to Broadmeadow and was unlucky not to have run a place. She hit the line hard and it was a good effort.
‘‘She then ran on Anzac Day at Randwick and had to sit in the death seat, which did not help.
‘‘On Saturday it looks like being a dry track, which is good, and she has drawn gate four, which is a help.
‘‘Looking at the race, there is good speed and we should get a nice cart just behind the leaders, which will give her a chance.’’
Newcastle will also be represented by Empress Milly in the same race.
‘‘She is drawn wide, which is not going to help,’’ trainer Paul Perry said.
He has Guderian resuming in the 1300m handicap.
‘‘He is a good old performer and will improve with racing,’’ he said.
Perry said Southern Skye raced well at Rosehill, which should help in the Lord Mayor’s Cup over 2000m.
‘‘He is looking good and just needs firm going to show something.’’
■ Voting closes at 4pm next Friday for the election of a new member to the NJC board of directors.
The field is Allan Arnott, Robert Dan, Leigh Maughan and Alan Walker.
It seems from phone calls and emails that there is a strong interest in the four-way showdown for the position and a good number of votes have already been recorded.
No frontrunner has emerged from the pack.
■ The Australian Racing Board has doubled the number of individual owners allowed to share in the ownership of a racehorse.
From August 1, up to 20 owners will be permitted per horse, up from the previous maximum of 10.
The ARB said it was keen to do everything possible to increase participation in racehorse ownership.
■ A new five-storey trackside hotel to be built at Royal Randwick will give guests a view down the home straight and club members another spot to wine and dine on carnival days.
The Australian Turf Club and the NSW Government yesterday unveiled plans for the four-star hotel at the Alison Road end of the track, near the members’ stand.