Quarter horse developers happy with response to plans

FULL STEAM AHEAD: Allan Murnane, pictured in front of the homestead at Bollier Park, said this week the response to his quarter horse proposal had exceeded all expectations.
FULL STEAM AHEAD: Allan Murnane, pictured in front of the homestead at Bollier Park, said this week the response to his quarter horse proposal had exceeded all expectations. Craig Warhurst

THE developers of a $60 million quarter horse racing facility near Imbil say the community, business and breeder response to their proposal has exceeded all expectations since it was announced three months ago.

Australian Quarter Horse Racing Development Pty Ltd managing director Allan Murnane said he had been engaged in multiple meetings throughout Australia since March with people and organisations with quarter horse interests.

The high level of interest from breeders meant that when racing starts at Bollier Park in two to three years time, QHRD will not have to import the hundreds of quarter horses it originally thought it would need to, Mr Murnane said.

Between 500 and 600 horses will be racing at Bollier Park when it first opens. Some of them will come from the United States, a quarter horse mecca.

"(But) Australia-wide there are going to be some hundreds of race-ready quarter horses (by then), which is very heartening," Mr Murnane said.

"This is very good news. It is very exciting."

QHRD has also been approached by local businesses about establishing an equine fertility centre in the Valley.

"We have taken that idea on with great interest," he said.

The centre would import genetics, carry out embryo transfers and offer services including surrogate mares.

"We always thought we would be breeding in the Valley as part of the concept, and I think now that will be substantial."

QHRD has also had initial discussions with the Sunshine Coast University, and has held meetings with the State Government, the last one this week.

Information sessions are being conducted, with the next one planned for Geelong on June 14, and one with Gympie Chamber of Commerce this Wednesday.

"Out of that I had people coming up with interesting proposals," Mr Murnane said. "Businesses are approaching us with their ideas. We are open to them at the moment and they are fitting in nicely with what we want to do.

"Businesses are looking for opportunities, or to create new businesses in the Valley. We had an inquiry yesterday about starting farrier training in the Valley, and we're interested in exploring that.

"On all fronts things are exceeding our expectations. The timing has been great. Everybody is looking to find out information and has a very positive approach to it. We have been really pleased and everything is exactly on track."

QHRD has been granted a licence and development lease to establish a $60 million enterprise, including a seven-day-a-week quarter horse training and stabling facility, international standard quarter horse racing track, centre of excellence, world-class multi-function venue and seven-day-a-week gaming venue on a former cattle grazing property on Tuchekoi Rd, near Imbil.

About 150 jobs will be created during construction - which will favour local residents and businesses - and another 140 jobs will run the facility.

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