Push for racing under lights at Gold Coast Turf Club by Hong Kong developer Tony Fung

Jockey Michael Hellyer rode the Scott Morrisey-trained Infinite Lee to victory in the Act For Kids Maiden Handicap (900m) at the Gold Coast Turf Club in December. Picture credit: Jessica Hawkins/ Trackside Photography

Jockey Michael Hellyer rode the Scott Morrisey-trained Infinite Lee to victory in the Act For Kids Maiden Handicap (900m) at the Gold Coast Turf Club in December. Picture credit: Jessica Hawkins/ Trackside Photography
     

GOLD Coast turf officials hope to be racing under lights within two years after a landmark naming-rights deal to be announced today.

Billionaire Hong Kong developer Tony Fung’s Aquis Australia has signed a three-year partnership with Gold Coast Turf Club and Event Centre, which includes renaming the precinct Aquis Park.

It is the largest sponsorship deal the turf club has ever inked and the first time it has sold the racecourse’s naming rights.

 

Hong Kong based billionaire Tony Fung. Picture: Marc McCormack
     

Gold Coast Turf Club chairman Brett Cook said Mr Fung was excited about the potential for the racecourse to host night racing on the back of an infrastructure submission before Racing Queensland.

“We’ve already submitted a business case to Racing Queensland that includes the upgrading of lights, which would make night racing realistic,” he said.

“We’re expecting an answer in late June or July and if that funding comes through, without being unrealistic we would have night racing within 18 months to two years.

 

Hong Kong businessman Tony Fung (right) with his son Justin at his Aquis Farm in Canungra. Photo: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian
       

“We’d like to think Gold Coast Turf Club, Aquis Australia and Racing Queensland can work together to make night racing a success on the Gold Coast because if it’s going to be successful anywhere in Queensland, there’s no doubt it would be here.”

Toowoomba presently holds Saturday night racing and the Sunshine Coast hosts occasional Friday night meets in summer.

 

Magic Millions racing carnival at the Gold Coast Turf Club on January 14, 2017. Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
     

“Given the track’s location and tourism demand on the Gold Coast, we’d be looking to have Friday night racing on a regular basis,” Mr Cook said.

“That would also tap into the international markets, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong.

“The potential is untapped, particularly on a Friday night because that opportunity isn’t there at the moment and the leading jockeys in Queensland and interstate would come to the Gold Coast, which would enhance betting turnover and ultimately lift prizemoney.”

 

An aerial of the Gold Coast Turf Club.
    

As well as increasing development interests on the Gold Coast, Aquis has spent two years building Queensland’s largest thoroughbred racing and breeding facility — Aquis Farm — at Canungra in the Hinterland.

It also recently acquired management rights to Emirates Park in the Hunter Valley.

Mr Fung said the partnership with Gold Coast Turf Club was an important plank of growing the Aquis brand in Australia.

 

Behind-the-scenes tour of Aquis Farm at Canungra, which Asian billionaire Tony Fung established and has grown to become one of the largest horse facilities in the State. Stallion ‘Spill The Beans’ with Peter Polga. Picture: Glenn Hampson
     

“This deal is not only a naming-rights program but designed to be a true partnership between two companies dedicated to providing world-class racing,” he said.

“The partnership is also an important part of our strategy to improve links between the local industry and Asia in both horses and real estate.”

Story courtesy Dwayne Grant – Gold Coast Bulletin

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