Club's $13m upgrade on track
RACING Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell celebrated Ipswich's outstanding history and confirmed an exciting future visiting Bundamba today.
The newly appointed racing industry boss opened the Ipswich Racing Museum, glowing in his praise for what Ipswich Turf Club officials and staff have achieved.
Mr Parnell said the $13 million Ipswich Turf Club redevelopment was on track to commence after next month's Ipswich Cup meeting.
"We've just been down to have a look at the new track renovation equipment that's been delivered today from the Racing Development Fund, so the track renovation work is under way,'' Mr Parnell said.
"The building is planned to kick off straight after the Cup . . . brand new jockey facilities, function area . . . so it's really exciting what's planned for the next 12 months here.''
With ongoing issues surrounding Eagle Farm's future, Mr Parnell said Ipswich had a crucial role to play in the Queensland racing industry.
"It's more than a secondary track,'' Mr Parnell said. "It's one of the most popular punting venues.
"For punters who follow racing most Fridays of the year, Bundamba is the centre of attention.
"Not only is the Cup huge and popular and well followed and gets really good returns, all those Fridays get seen all around Australia, and punters all around the world tune in and bet on Ipswich races.''
The RQ CEO was delighted to see the Ipswich Racing Museum open.
"So many stars have raced here, at one of the oldest clubs in Queensland,'' Mr Parnell said.
"It's really important to celebrate that history because that's what then creates the fabric of racing.
"I've been to Ipswich Cup many times. Ipswich Cup is one of those really great, fun social days with really good racing.
"Hopefully this winter carnival, there will be some more chapters written into the Ipswich Turf Club hall of fame.''
Ipswich Turf Club deputy chairman Brian North was also thrilled to see the museum set up to showcase many memorable achievements.
"We're proud of it and it just displays the history of racing at this great track over the years,'' he said.
"It's a big day for the Ipswich Turf Club.''
The ITC committee embraced the idea of general manager Brett Kitching to use the 1950's building as a museum rather than knock it down during the redevelopment.
"It was just an old storage shed there for quite some time,'' Mr North said.
"We passed that (Mr Kitching's concept) on to the staff to implement it and (marketing manager) Claire Power was the one that arranged everything inside there, and the workers put it all together.''
Mr North said the club had some items already, boosted by donations from the community.
"It's a got a timeline there right back to the 1840s,'' Mr North said. "It's come together really well.''
After 20 years on the ITC committee, Liam Tansey appreciated seeing the museum created in the same year the massive Ipswich Infrastructure Project was scheduled to start.
"It's great to record the history of the club because it's got the longest history of any race club in Queensland,'' Mr Tansey said.
"Hopefully we'll get more exhibits and be able to swap them around on a six monthly basis.''
He particularly liked the Eye Liner memorabilia in the museum because of the excitement it generates.
Under committee rules, Mr Tansey has to retire from his position at the AGM in September.
But the long-serving turf club treasurer plans to continue enjoying racing as a horse owner and supporter of future development.
"Finally we've got infrastructure funding,'' he said. "It's great, in the last year, to finally see it come to fruition.''