THE Queensland government has demolished long-established bureaucratic barriers to enable Australia’s first Quarter Horse racing industry to be established in Queensland.
Premier Campbell Newman said the government’s willingness to grant a new control body licence for Quarter Horse racing had sparked interest in a potential $60 million investment in the Mary Valley to build a new equestrian facility.
The new licence could have a direct impact on Quarter Horse Racing Queensland – a local Quarter Horse sprint-racing organisation which, according to its Facebook page, has up to nine registered tracks ready to host up to 30 races in Queensland this year.
Mareeba-based Chris Chalmers has been involved in the recent rebirth of Quarter Horse racing in north Queensland over the past 12 months and is highly sceptical of the new control body.
“We are purely Quarter Horse up here and we race only on registered race tracks. We are in no way involved with proprietary racing plans that have popped up in all states over the past 20 years and continue to hamper the name and progress of genuine Quarter Horse racing,” he said.
Announcing the new licence at the Houston Rodeo in Texas, US, Mr Newman said the government had reached a heads of agreement with Australian Quarter Horse Racing Development to buy a 1600-hectare property in the Mary Valley.
“The company’s development proposal for the Mary Valley includes racing facilities, a hotel, stables for 400 horses, an equestrian school and an associated residential development,” Mr Newman said.