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Randwick Grandstand "Riddled With Concrete Cancer"
Royal Randwick's Queen Elizabeth II Stand (opened in 1970) "is riddled with concrete cancer & must be replaced within the next 10 years," reported The Daily Telegraph. Australian Jockey Club chief executive Norman Gillespie confirmed: "To rebuild this stand will cost over $100 million alone. We must decide if we rebuild it or if it can be reconfigured.” Gillespie said a new grandstand "is an integral part of the AJC's master plan" & is necessary to modernise Randwick racecourse, but noted a completely new grandstand (accommodating up to 20,000 spectators & featuring new function areas & corporate box facilities) would cost $200 million. The newspaper added: "There have been suggestions a merger between the AJC & Sydney Turf Club could produce significant costs savings & possibly fund the master plan by selling either Canterbury or Warwick Farm to retire debt." However Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys "confirmed the terms of reference outlining a possible race club merger have been drafted, but said speculation about selling Sydney racetracks was premature". V'landys said: "The Government, Racing NSW & the STC have signed off on this document, we are just waiting on the AJC now. Once that is done, our next step is to appoint a consultant to carry out an analysis on a possible amalgamation of the AJC & STC. This is expected to take 3 months. We will ask the consultants to determine the best utilisation of assets to maximise returns to the racing industry. You can't pre-judge these things.” And NSW Racing Minister Kevin Greene commented: "If the independent analysis says a merger is the way forward, if the AJC & STC agree that they want to be one club, if all those things happen then it is up to that new club & Racing NSW to determine how best to use their assets.” (Feb 11)