RACE DAY: A lively crowd at the 2019 Emerald 100.
RACE DAY: A lively crowd at the 2019 Emerald 100.

New curator sprucing track for towns biggest race day

JOCKEYS, horses and local Pioneer Park trainers are in for a treat with the Emerald Jockey Club recruiting Mick Calvert as the new track curator, a replacement for recently retired curator Noel Coyne.

Calvert, who was brought in two weeks ago, has the track looking fresh.

All reports so far is that he has done a sensational job with participants reporting the track has really come on in recent weeks.

Calvert thanked recently retired Noel Coyne and tireless club volunteer Steve Erickson for the great handover he passed on.

“There’s obviously a lot of work that goes into keeping a racetrack up to scratch and making sure that it is ready to go come race day and with the Emerald Jockey Club now hosting Tab meetings the pressure is on to serve up a top-line racing surface,” he said.

Calvert, a longtime Central Queensland radio identity, has had a general longtime interest in racing as owner and strapper and worked in several leading stables.

He has also held groundskeeper roles over the years preparing sporting fields and has done plenty of homework on how to get the best out of the Pioneer Park surface and get it up to a Tab standard.

“There will be a lot of fertilising and watering with the result being a track that provides an even surface, giving every horse a chance to win the race from anywhere in the field on pace or swooping home late and most importantly the safety of the horses and jockey,” he said.

Calvert was more than pleased after hearing of the Palaszczuk Governments plan to provide $2.6 million in infrastructure funding for 32 race clubs across Queensland, with the Emerald Jockey Club being a benefactor of the grants.

The club will receive a major irrigation upgrade for the Pioneer Park track which will provide him with the extra tools to get on with the job and he hopes to unveil the tracks new found true glory on Emerald 100 day in October.

With almost all of the majority non-TAB clubs in the Central Highlands having had their meetings either cancelled or postponed during COVID-19, the investment should be a strong indicator that the state government has a long term vision for country racing and will come out of COVID-19 bigger and better.