The Warrnambool Racing Club has fears of an exodus of trainers and a massive hit to the local economy in the wake of a shock ban of horses accessing the Levy’s Point sand dunes.
As G1X.com.au exclusively revealed on Monday, the Warrnambool City Council delivered the news via the South West Owners Trainers Riding Association (SWOTRA) that the sand dunes were off limits effective immediately, a decision taken by Parks Victoria and Aboriginal Victoria.
New permits with further restrictions were issued in relation to access by racehorse trainers to Lady Bay beach as well but it is the decision regarding the dunes that has caught the WRC and trainers by surprise.
“We thought we had been proactive dealing with Parks Victoria and the Warrnambool City Council towards a good resolution for beach users as well as our trainers,” WRC chief executive Peter Downs told G1X.com.au.
Downs said the thoroughbred industry was worth $97.5 million to the local economy and feared that if the decision remained, trainers would leave the town.
“We have 57 registered trainers at Warrnambool from just one horse up to 80 like Darren Weir with up to 250 horses in work, and of that 110 a day use the racetrack so the rest would be at the beach,” Downs said.
“It’s pretty disappointing the way the decision has been handed down as most of our local trainers would regard the beach and the dunes as their k...