Big damage bill

INSURANCE companies are looking at a bill somewhere in the vicinity of a quarter of a million dollars to repair the damage suffered by the Coffs Harbour Racing Club when the flooding rains hit five weeks ago.

Just under $170,000 of that amount is due to the havoc wreaked on the synthetic training track.

“The synthetic track has certainly had a large portion of the material washed from it, the fibre and sand,” Coffs Harbour Racing Club CEO Russ Atkinson said.

“We've had the original manufacturer and Racing NSW inspect the track and both have agreed it needs some substantial remedial work and the quotes for that have gone into the insurance company.

“We're now awaiting the outcome of that but we do need to be moving as quickly as we can now to get it all sorted out and addressed.”

Any period of consistent rain will keep trainers off the course proper limiting their ability to do fast work with the horses.

The synthetic track has always been the fallback in this situation but now that the water is finally dissipating, its use is now an issue, Atkinson added.

“One thing about the synthetic track is, that with the rain, the water actually acted as an artificial binder so they have been able to continue to use it even though there are some areas that aren't as satisfactory as we'd like,” he said.

“So the water has acted as an artificial binder but as it dries out it has obviously changed things.”

The additional damage the Club suffered was to the downstairs function room and other amenities as well as the important stewards and jockeys rooms.

“All the stuff in there won't be sorted out and replaced until probably before the Cup and we're waiting for some quotes because all the timber has to be replaced,” the CEO said.

“We'll get through the next race meeting. Not everything will be great but it will be right.

“The ground floor function room had the carpet replaced on Wednesday so hopefully that will be up and running again next week.

“Things like our public toilets at the back of the stand, which were inundated, hopefully they will be right for the Cup.”

While the preparations of trainers since the flood hit have been curtailed, Atkinson is adamant that one thing that won't be troubled is next weekend's race meeting.

“The track itself is no problem, that's just going along really according to Mother Nature at the moment and we're looking forward to racing next weekend.”

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