Racing club's $500,000 sand training track will draw more trainers to Gifford Hill

Murray Bridge Racing Club's newest facility is close to completion.

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A new sand track at Gifford Hill will attract more trainers to the Murraylands, local horse racing authorities hope.

The 800-metre uphill track, used for training racehorses, is believed to be one of just two owned by any Australian racing club.

Local trainer Grant Young had the first run on the track aboard former Great Eastern Steeplechase winner Spying on You on Saturday.

Murray Bridge Racing Club chairman John Leahy said the sand track was unique in South Australia.

“I think it gives the trainers here in South Australia an opportunity to have something a little bit different; it gives the horses an opportunity to have something a bit different for their health, their wellbeing and fitness; and I think it will be well received by everyone,” he said.

Thoroughbred Racing SA chief executive officer Nick Redin described the project as key to racing's future in the state, given its location at “arguably the best racetrack in the country”.

The state government provided funding for the $500,000 sand track as part of a wider investment in the racing industry.

Recreation, Sport and Racing Minister Corey Wingard hoped it would be a “game-changer” for Murray Bridge.

“We know that (the racing industry) employs a wide range of people, from stablehands to people that operate on training days right through to trainers and jockeys on race days, so it gives a big opportunity for people to get into work in South Australia,” he said.

“We’re excited by that.”

Uphill sand tracks are typically used to build cardiovascular fitness in racehorses, to strengthen their legs if they are coming back from injury, and to add a bit of variety to their training regimes.

Video, photos including Grant Young aboard Spying on You and Corey Wingard, John Leahy and Nick Redin: Peri Strathearn.

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