Clubs come together to rebuild Albion Park

Trainers from both codes, drivers, volunteers, chief executive officers and everyone else in between.

It does not matter what your role is at Albion Park, it is all hands on deck to get the premier Brisbane racing facility back on its feet.

One of the most popular racing venues throughout Australia – hosting the harness and greyhound code every day of the week – has been one of the worst hit facilities in South East Queensland following the devastating recent floods.

To rebuild the two tracks, everyone from both the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club have come together for the greater good.

“We work really well together on race days as the complex races seven days a week and at the moment the complex is not racing at all so everyone is chipping in,” Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club CEO Luke Gatehouse said.

“We are ensuring all the jobs are done – stewards and photographers rooms – everywhere you will see people from both clubs coming together to help.

“It has been an amazing effort; we have a really committed group of staff in here and we have had people popping in to help where they can.

“It has been a really good team effort between the two clubs in the common areas. It is a really messy job for the staff, so we are thankful for all their efforts.”

Gatehouse was one of many from the greyhound code on hand on Monday morning as the rebuild continues.

Racing Queensland earlier this month advised that race meetings programmed at Albion Park will not proceed until further notice.

RQ’s Senior Harness Racing Manager David Brick, who was also getting a sweat up in the clean-up effort on Monday morning, has been impressed with the combined effort from both clubs.

“Everyone has a common goal, which is to get racing back as soon as possible,” Brick said.

“It is all hands on deck. It is great to see some participants coming in and helping out, many of which who have their own issues with tracks washed out and so forth.

“It is an important racing venue for both codes and we are doing our best to get it back to racing as soon as possible.

“It will be back sooner rather than later and we are looking forward to that.”

The Albion Park harness surface has come a long way over the last week, according to track manager Tony Turpin.

Turpin was aided by a handful of trainers on Monday afternoon and is expecting to have more giving his team a hand on Wednesday.

“Both clubs are working together, it does not matter who owns what, we are just all in together trying to get everything cleaned up,” Turpin said.

“Hopefully we can get everything back to normal as soon as we can.

“Everyone’s working together to get back racing as soon as we possibly can.”

Turpin is hopeful both tracks will be in a good enough condition to race in the coming weeks, but expects the rest of the facility to take a little while longer to get back to what it was before the floods, which may extend the return date.

Everyone in racing comes together when they need a helping hand, Brick believes.

“The racing as an industry, it has always been like that,” Brick said.

“While it is very competitive out on the track or between governing bodies and participants – they have disagreements – at the end of the day we will agree that we are here to do the job together.

“It is a collegial approach and it will be that way as the clean-up continues.”

Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman Brad Steele is looking forward to pacers and trotters going around at the venue again soon.

“For us, the temporary closure of The Creek affects a huge volume of people – from our trainers, drivers and their support teams, through to our dedicated employees,” Steele said.

“Our number one priority is to get racing back on track at The Creek and planning is already under way with all stakeholders.

“In fact, work has already begun on the track to start this process.”

RQ will oversee the distribution of the Training Assistance Fund to support racing participants in flood-impacted areas of South East Queensland.

It’s anticipated more than 1,200 trainers across thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds have faced additional costs for transport, food, forage and bedding for animals, directly related to the SEQ floods.

Click here for further information on the Training Assistance Fund.

By Jordan Gerrans