Newcastle Jockey Club is set to gain additional funding, beyond proceeds from the sale of Cessnock racecourse, to build 400 stables and more than 100 new raceday stalls at its Broadmeadow track.
Racing NSW chief Peter V'landys told the Sydney Morning Herald this week that his organisation was buying the Cessnock track from the NJC and the money raised would help the club build new on-course stables at Newcastle Racecourse.
Cessnock would eventually be closed to racing and converted into a training facility. NJC chief Matt Benson told the Newcastle Herald in July last year of the club's vision to turn Cessnock into a regional pre-training hub.
Benson revealed in April this year the three-stage plan to create 400 new stables at the Chatham Street end of the Broadmeadow course, where the race-day stalls now stand. New day stalls will be built trackside on the home straight, making way for new permanent stables to replace outdated ones at the opposite end of the course.
NJC chairman Geoff Barnett hailed Racing NSW's plan as a win-win for his club and the Cessnock region.
"It's exciting," Barnett said.
"It will let us do what we want to do with our stabling.
"They are in terrible condition our stables and those funds will help that no end.
"Now we've got a beautiful new racetrack, the next step is making up some decent stables and we'll be good for the next 50 years.
"And it's also a positive for Cessnock. If they have pre-training out there, it will create employment opportunities in that region.
"It's a large parcel of land, about 120 acres, it's level, there's a sand track, dam, a manager's home, so it's got potential. And it's so close to Newcastle, Wyong, Gosford and Muswellbrook and there's the expressway to Sydney, so it's an ideal spot."
He said the Cessnock track had been valued and "I think everyone will be quite happy and comfortable with what the deal is". He hoped to have the sale complete by the new year, when the club aimed to begin work on its new day stalls.
Barnett said between 100 and 130 tie-up stalls would be built. Those are likely to cost between $1.5 million and $2 million, while the price tag for the new stables was estimated at $10 million.
"Racing NSW have suggested that there will be more funding for us over and above the sale price [of Cessnock]," Barnett said.
He said a call on the end of racing at Cessnock had not been determined. The track has long struggled with water shortages, forcing several meetings to be transferred to Newcastle.
"We've had a lot of trouble with getting enough water to keep the track in a good conditions," Barnett said.
"It's been quite challenging. When it does rain there's a nasty patch near the 600-metres and when it gets rated badly, the whole track does.
"We have looked at fixing it, but it's such a massive job."
Barnett said the club hoped to have the stabling redevelopment at Newcastle completed by 2023.
"We've looked at Cranbourne and Pakenham and the facilities they have down there and we think we can improve on what they've done, but it will be a similar design," he said.
"The whole board is really excited and we're looking forward to getting on with it.
"It's been a long time coming. We've talked about needing new stables for years and years.
"We've got engineers working on the design to get it ready for a development application situation and we're hoping we can start work on it in the new year."
Racing NSW has also bought Scone racecourse and surrounding land, which will become a training centre of excellence.