First trials to be staged at Murray Bridge's new Gifford Hill racecourse

The view from a window at the function centre at the Gifford Hill racecourse. Photo: Peri Strathearn/File.
The view from a window at the function centre at the Gifford Hill racecourse. Photo: Peri Strathearn/File.

The thud of hooves will be heard at Murray Bridge's new racecourse for the first time this Thursday.

The public is invited to come along to Murray Bridge Racing Club's new home base at Gifford Hill from 9am to watch a series of trials for racehorses, jockeys and trainers.

Club manager John Buhagiar said he was excited at the prospect of seeing horses run on turf that was planted seven years ago.

It was designed then to mimic Sandown Racecourse in Melbourne, one of Australia's finest racetracks.

Mr Buhagiar told Thoroughbred Racing SA the local track had earned praise from representatives of leading stable McEvoy Mitchell Racing when they visited last week.

"I think one of the course's strengths is its width, which will allow us to make rail shifts that are significant, instead of small ones that can create laneways, often leading to track bias," he said.

"Down the side of the track and the home straight it's 30 metres wide, and around the back of the course it's 27 metres wide; that probably gives us another 10 or 11 metres in width compared to our old track, and that's a lot.

"(McEvoy Mitchell's representatives) also said there's no real 'panic aspects' in the track - the starts don't have you panicking about your position, as can happen when there's only a short run to the turn."

He said the track was in good condition despite recent frost.

"Even walking around it on Wednesday, you would probably say it would be rated a five or a six," he said.

"It looks lovely and green and it's designed to be resilient."

Trials will be run over 1000-metre, 1200m and 1400m distances, with starts split between the main track and a chute.

Nominations are due to close tomorrow morning, but Mr Buhagiar anticipated "a good amount of interest" from trainers.

The first race meeting at the new track will be held on July 24, and an official opening on August 10, when Morphettville will be closed for the day and Adelaide's usual races staged in the Bridge.

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