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Horse Racing and Our Economy

Horse Racing and Our Economy


How Do We Benefit?

Townsville can attribute a lot more than just good times and great memories to the Townsville Turf Club, with our local racing industry bringing in over $30 million dollars a year. We delve into the benefits our city sees from these events and look at just how much the Townsville Turf Club has had to adapt in order to advance in this new age.

Out of 120 thoroughbred Clubs throughout Queensland, the Townsville Turf Club is the 6th largest in terms of racing volume, servicing the thoroughbred industry from Rockhampton, west to Mount Isa, north to Cairns and everywhere in between.

A new committee were appointed in 2017 that would push the club into further success. Malcolm Petrofski was appointed President and Cassandra Cazzulino became the first woman in 150 years to be entrusted with the role of Chief Executive Office. Empowered with extensive knowledge across business, finance, thoroughbred racing and events the dedicated team including Ross Donovan, Natalie Rintala, Esther Slocombe, Graham Ede, Peter Malpass and Graham Nicolls have all assisted in driving the club forward. Malcolm and Cassandra worked closely with the new Committee to restructure the business so it could evolve and withstand future challenges – an essential evolution for both the club and Townsville.

So why is the Townsville Turf Club a key player in our economy? The Queensland Racing Industry annually generates more than $1.2 billion dollars of economic value, with $31.8 million dollars generated in Townsville.

Last race season, 242 races were conducted at Cluden Park Racecourse, with over 2,300 horses and 100’s of industry professionals participating. Of the 36 race meetings, the industry was awarded with over $3.4 million dollars in prize money and $726,450 in bonuses – and the benefits don’t stop there.

The Club has hosted some of the biggest and most colorful social events in the city’s history, but the hugely popular Winter Racing Carnival which concludes with highly anticipated Mater Townsville Cup, is where our local economy truly gets a boost.

“The Townsville Turf Club engages over 50 local businesses during the Winter Racing Carnival and employs well over 100 staff not including security, catering staff and racing industry support staff. Retail outlets, milliners, shoe stores, fashion houses and stylists, hair and beauty providers and transport services all experience an influx of customers. The flow on is huge for the local economy,” Cassandra says.

However, hosting an event of this magnitude not only takes grit and determination, it also takes savvy planning and a keen insight into past events to ensure complete success and even bigger numbers next year. The club recently appointed Event Manager Sam Pascoe to help drive the Winter Racing Carnival to the next level.

“This year we really wanted to offer a fresh approach. The new carnival format will feature a collection of events over an eight-day Winter Racing Carnival period from the 20th to the 28th of July,” Cassandra says. “We have intimately reviewed the needs of last year’s guests and have reimagined our experiences with general admission, marquee precinct, food and ticketing all getting a nice overhaul. We are bursting with excitement to showcase our new event spaces, which allows us to highlight stunning Townsville and North Queensland. Just think blue skies, winter sunshine and great mates with your favourite beverage in hand – winning!”

Kicking off at the Ville- Resort Casino, guests of the Winter Racing Carnival can expect “a festival-like energy” throughout the whole event, with new and improved trackside offerings, eat street inspired food experiences, roving ‘style cams’ and much more.  The Winter Carnival will culminate with the Mater Health Services Townsville Cup.

Providing a fun, safe and memorable time for everyone is certainly an achievement, but to do so with an event that benefits several different industries and our local economy as a whole is truly an accomplishment.



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