The Gold Coast Turf Club is evolving – this key piece of infrastructure, right in the centre of the city, now offers much more than premiere provincial racing every Saturday.
In fact it has transformed into a major entertainment and events hub every day of the week, and with its new Exhibition Centre slated to open by the end of the year, the Bundall racecourse is on the cusp on an exciting new era.
It has been almost 50 years since the first thoroughbred race meeting was held under the Gold Coast Turf Club banner … but even now you can’t help but be overwhelmed with excitement as you walk through the gates.
This “glamour club of Queensland racing” is a venue steeped in romance and nostalgia – it is where billions of dollars has exchanged hands, where champion thoroughbreds have galloped their way to greatness, where the students of form come to pit their skills against bookmakers’ odds, where the latest race day fashion trends are closely followed … and where some of the State’s biggest business deals have been done with the simple shake of a hand.
It’s where everyone from racing royalty and world-famous celebrities have celebrated alongside everyday punters and fun-loving locals, in an atmosphere charged by competitive spirit, by serious money, by the highest-quality horseflesh and, of course, topped with a dash of holiday hype – this is a unique atmosphere enhanced by stunning, sweeping 180 degree views of the iconic and inspirational Gold Coast skyline.
The Gold Coast Turf Club – traditionally ‘where the turf meets the surf’ – is now entering a new stage of its life-cycle: a $35.4 million upgrade is transforming it into true entertainment and events hub. Indeed, it’s well on its way to fulfilling its destiny.
DATES TO REMEMBER
October 11: Caulfield Guineas
October 18: Caulfield Cup
Racing types have already pencilled in coming dates for the Spring Carnival, Melbourne Cup feature race meeting, Christmas celebrations and, of course, the ultimate horseman’s holiday itself: the Gold Coast’s own Magic Millions Carnival which is viewed around the globe each January.
But there’s now much more at the Bundall venue … much, much more. In August, the Gold Coast Show – the city’s biggest annual community event – was held there for the first time … and it proved a resounding success. On December 6 will be the Summer Surf Sprint – the richest athletic race series in Queensland. Then come the sales at the Magic Millions complex across the road, part of the magnificent MM Carnival which has cemented the Gold Coast Turf Club as the nation’s premiere provincial racing centre. On weekdays there are conferences, real estate auctions and company training seminars, courtesy of the $11 million makeover of Members facilities which has included a grandstand extension to include 10 new and exclusive corporate suites – these are also ideal for silver-service race day functions, Christmas celebrations and private parties. In the words of GCTC chairman Brett Cook: “The Gold Coast Turf Club is entering one of the most exciting and important periods in the history of the club … it’s an unprecedented period of progress”.
Indeed, GCTC is “racing ahead”
We are entering one of the most exciting and important periods in the history of the club … it’s an unprecedented period of progress
Brett Cook - Chairman - Gold Coast Turf Club
DATES TO REMEMBER
November 4: Melbourne Cup
November 8: Stakes Day
The Gold Coast Turf Club has long been recognised as an industry leader in the sphere of providing its Members and patrons with an experience that goes beyond the excitement of its core business, thoroughbred racing. Live music, rich fashions on the field and premium dining are just a few of the ‘extras’ attracting a new generation of racegoers to the track. Now the renovations have ensured there is a comfortable seat for everyone, no matter if you’re after intimate dining, a formal celebration, if you are a serious follower of form, or a member of a group simply out to enjoy a great party. In the words of one impressed member: “It’s always been a gem, now it is the shining jewel of Australian racing! Every facet of the club breathes relaxed elegance, from the fine dining in the new restaurants to the excitement of cheering patrons in the renovated grandstand”.
The Crystal Lounge is one of the newest venues in the Gold Coast Turf Club, located on the second floor in the multi-million dollar renovation. Elegantly designed, it features statement chandeliers, floor to ceiling windows offering unrivalled views of the track and the Gold Coast skyline, a private viewing balcony, comfortable lounge and cocktail- style seating, catering menu and beverage packages available with personal wait service.
The Gallery, also new, offers tables of four and six as well as bench seating on tiered levels, with first-class catering and exceptional service, again priced to reflect the inclusions, of which there are many available.
Skyline Restaurant offers panoramic views of the Gold Coast racecourse and Glitter Strip with tables of four, six and eight presented on tiered levels, with the option of upgrading to a great-value Gold package. The Skyline Mezzanine is an exclusive area catering for up to 25 guests overlooking the Winning Post in air-conditioned surrounds, complete with private wait staff.
The Hall of Fame bistro – formerly Champions Restaurant – is located on Level 2 and caters for all tastes, from coffee, sandwiches, sushi and cheese plates, to gourmet burgers, calzone pizzas or the GCTC Seafood Basket. It’s Members Only, but no bookings are required.
Also available for Members is the Rails Bar & Servery and the popular Prime Minister’s Bar, which offers an unbeatable view with full glass frontage of the Mounting Yard, Winning Post and Surfers Paradise skyline. This is a prime location and you really do feel part of the action. After the races, there’s also live music every Saturday until 7.30pm.
For the public there’s the legendary Might and Power Bar with easy access to the betting ring, as well as The Snack Bar and Late Mail Coffee Shop – all with their own atmosphere ensuring a great day at the track. And, in keeping with its philosophy of offering more, the club is now catering for crowds post-races. The CPR Bar has been refurbished for those wanting to kick on for a while and stocks a range of ciders and boutique beers. It’s also open to the public, and will feature music to help get the night started on a great note.
A $35.4 million upgrade is transforming the Gold Coast Turf Club into a true entertainment and events hub.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Summer Surf Sprint
January 24: Australia Day
With its corporate catering abilities honed over many years of hosting major race meetings, Gold Coast Turf Club is a destination of choice for large functions, and with a trained staff which has its systems down pat on big race days such as Prime Minister’s Cup, Goldmarket Hcp, Spring Carnivals and, of course, Magic Millions, no function is too big or small. Expanding the corporate offering was a natural evolution. Located in prime position at the southern end of the renovated grandstand are the 10 new corporate suites which not only offer those great Gold Coast skyline views, but also an added feeling of exclusivity on race day.
Next on agenda for a club with Australia’s busiest race track – 58 meetings a year – is an Exhibition Centre at the southern end of the straight. This is being built as part of the Gold Coast Show relocation agreement but it has created a great deal of excitement. The Exhibition Centre will not only be the centrepiece for the show, it will help drive the GCTC’s expansion into the events market for years to come, adding substantially to the substance and presence of the club. Due to be open by Christmas, the centre comes at a time when major projects on the Gold Coast have been few and far between, creating hundreds of jobs and providing a badly needed boost for the local construction industry. Free parking will be an added bonus. The final stage of the redevelopment project will be the upgrade of the GCTC’s 6 tracks and equine facilities … and they will be world class. This will include a new equine pool and new horse stalls, where champions of the future will be prepared to race against some of the best gallopers in the country.
While the GCTC is a major business, it is also a club … and the focus remains squarely on providing for its members. The financial incentives speak for themselves – Members receive discounted tickets and packages across all the club’s venues, and entry to exclusive areas helps make race day even more memorable. Call the club on 5538 1599 or visit www.gctc.com.au.
Article produced by Ocean Road Magazine
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