Tyers Park upgrades part of Bathurst’s vision for the future

The new-look Tyers Park sand training track.
Image: Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing.

Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing has a new leader at the helm, with Lisa Pierce looking to steer the club in a new direction. 

Stepping into the acting manager’s role, Pierce has been active behind the scenes since taking on the role late last year.

Despite stepping into the position without a lot of racing experience, she has been working hard to ensure Tyers Park is at a standard that offers Bathurst trainers the facilities they need to be competitive in and around the central districts. 

“It’s been a pretty steep learning curve, but it has been interesting, and I’ve learned a lot,” Pierce told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“For me, it’s about getting the place up to scratch in different areas. Some things have not been done for a while.

“We have a good team, and Roy McCabe is helping us a lot on the track; the team of men we have are completing general maintenance, grooming the sand, and moving the rails.

“Roy is doing some of the more racing-orientated work, including ratings, and working out how much water to give the course, and things like that.”

A significant renovation to the fast-work training track, underpinned by a $300,000 commitment from Racing NSW to the Tyers Park Racecourse, clearly indicates the direction that Pierce and the Bathurst Thorough Racing Club are heading.

The project involved spreading and levelling over 1000 tonnes of conforming sand brought in from Eugowra, along with significant upgrades to the existing irrigation system. 

These improvements will ensure efficiency and sustainable track maintenance in the years ahead.

“It’s been an important upgrade, but we’ve still got a few teething issues, and getting the water right has been a big thing,” Pierce said. 

“We’re grooming it, and things could be better, but it’s trial and error.

“The sand itself, when it is wet enough, is like galloping on a beach, according to Roy McCabe, and we’ll get there.”

Pierce said ‘dedication to innovation and excellence’ will allow Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing to strive to be one of, if not the best racing and training facilities in the Central Districts. 

While a lot still needs to be done, Pierce believes the club is tracking in the right direction. 

“You have to provide a good facility, and I guess our current problem is water when it is super-hot,” Pierce said. 

“We only run on bore water and have a certain amount of water per day, making it logistically tricky, but that is another area we will work on.  

“The track itself is not looking too bad, and it is a work in progress; we’re not going to pretend things are perfect, but we’re working hard on many things, and I’m confident people will start to see a big difference.”

The club is also trying to get local and visiting people back to the races, with a stronger social media presence already evident as Pierce and her team amp up promotions ahead of their April 25 Soldier’s Saddle meeting. 

“What we are trying to do is let people know that we’re here and racing,” Pierce said. 

“Things are changing out here, and we’re doing different things and creating a better experience, and we want to showcase all the different sides of racing.”

While she is only in the acting manager’s role, Pierce hopes to be around for the long haul. 

“I pick jobs because I like to build things; I’m more entrepreneurial than anything, and I love to work with businesses and organisations,” Piece said. 

“I thought it would be an interesting gig, and somebody told one of the (Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing” board members I was not working, and they asked if I would step in as acting manager.

“I’ve stayed on, and while I’m still in that acting role, they’ll be advertising the job, and I’ll be interviewing, and I’m hoping to stay on.”

When asked what she could bring to the role and her goals for Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing, Pierce was thinking about tomorrow and the club’s long-term future, including ways to maximise use of the Tyers Park facilities.

“In the short term, I would like to rebuild our community of racegoers and put Bathurst back up there with other good country tracks,” Pierce said.

“In the long term, I’d like to potentially build other parts of the business, such as events, functions and hosting other horse events.

“We’ve got a lot of space, and potentially, we could host Show Jumping and other horse sports.

“In Bathurst, we don’t have a Show Jumping arena, and we’re pretty close to Sydney. I believe there is an opportunity to build something that can better take advantage of the space and give more people a reason to want to come and utilise our facilities.”

For the moment, racing is the focus, with Bathurst hosting a six-race program on Thursday, which will be headlined by lunch with Kate Nipperess.

Attention then quickly turnes to the club’s annual Soldier’s Saddle meeting on Thursday, April 25. 

For more on both events, click here.