Plastic safer bet

By Ann Marie Angebrandt
WERRIBEE Racecourse could get plastic running rails, following the injury to champion jockey Damien Oliver sustained during a race there last Wednesday.
His mount, Langarza, suffered a heart attack and crashed heavily through the rails in the last 600 metres of the race.
Mr Oliver was thrown under the track’s aluminium rail, but struck the metal upright, resulting in cuts and abrasions and a broken right hand.
Racing Victoria chief executive Stephen Allanson said a decision will be made on replacing the existing running rails at all Victorian tracks with an imported PVC plastic type when an eight-month trail is completed this week.
If the rails are deemed acceptable to Australian conditions, especially UV exposure, all Victorian tracks could be overhauled in the near future at a cost of about $20 million.
“It’s a big investment, and the last thing we want is to put our money into something we find a few years away isn’t suitable,” Mr Allanson said.
He said the racing body was also looking at other products and technologies if the evaluation shows plastic rails are not the way to go.
Meanwhile, a $2.5 million upgrade to the Werribee Racecourse grandstand and members’ area is well ahead of schedule, club secretary David Horsburgh said.
The refurbishment began last year and included a new judge’s box, modern television and audio equipment, a new bar and improvements to landscaping and gardens.
He said it was the course’s first major upgrade in several decades.

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