Thursday March 22, 2018

For immediate release


Ellerslie to Become Front-Runner with New Stables Development


Auckland Racing Club today unveiled plans for a new stables development further cementing its reputation as one of the best racecourses in the Southern Hemisphere – all whilst staying true to its history and heritage.


Building work worth in excess of $6million, which will see tie-up stalls for 126 horses created alongside a warm-up ring, veterinary boxes & office, function room and trainers’ cafe, is due to start immediately and will be completed in time for November’s Melbourne Cup meeting.


Seventy-per-cent of the current stable block will be demolished to make way for the development, compromising of four separate buildings built round the central parade ring.


Auckland Racing Club CEO, Paul Wilcox, believes the new stables will cement Ellerslie Racecourse as a world class racing destination and put its facilities on par with the famous Australian courses of Flemington and Randwick.


“The idea of this development is to bring race goers and owners closer to the horses and even closer to the action,” says Wilcox.


“The configuration of these open plan tie-up stalls will allow people to look at the horses both before and after racing, and gain a greater sense of the energy and passion that thoroughbred horse racing is all about – it’s how it’s done at some of best racecourses in the world and it’s how it will be done at Ellerslie Racecourse.”


In a nod to the past, the build will be finished in the same red brick currently seen in the 1930s administration building and, perhaps more profoundly, the façade of the original totaliser machine, designed by Sir George Julius in 1913 to keep a record of the total amount bet on each horse, will be restored to take centre stage.


The new facilities have been 18 months in the planning and have been driven by Auckland Racing Club CFO, Tim Gillespie.


“This is a big investment for the Club but we see it as important in helping futureproof both Ellerslie as a thoroughbred racing venue, and the sport itself in New Zealand,” says Gillespie.


“We’ve worked closely with the architects to design a modern facility that suits the needs of trainers, owners and the public but also pays homage to our heritage and the great traditions of Ellerslie.


“The restoration and return of the totaliser façade is something I’m particularly thrilled about. When the original totalisator machine was installed it was the first of its kind in the world, and although the original machine is no longer around, to have the reinstated façade as the development’s focal point is tremendously exciting.”


The delicate process of the totaliser restoration has already begun, with the century old façade uncovered from hiding in the existing stable block and sent to Wellington.


The project architects are Auckland-based Young & Richards with Haydn+Rollett responsible for construction.


“Both of our build partners have an excellent track record when it comes to designing and building multi-use facilities and, whilst this is the first new build of racing facilities in New Zealand for a long time, the ethos and design principles that the partners have contributed so far will ensure it will be top of class and support the Club for many years to come,” added Gillespie.


The announcement caps a positive first year as CEO for Wilcox, who has overseen an increase in prize money and a hugely successful summer of racing, culminating in a fantastic Auckland Cup Week.


“The development is great news for racing fans across the country and for the people of Auckland. Racing has taken place at Ellerslie Racecourse since 1857 and long may it continue,” he said.