Newcastle Jockey Club plans to relocate its raceday stalls as part of a staged approach to developing much-needed new stables on course at Broadmeadow.
The NJC had hoped for at least an indication of support for new stables from Racing NSW in its long-awaited strategic plan released this month.
The plan, though, did not refer to specific clubs but prioritised increased stabling capacity in the Sydney Basin and allocated $16 million to stabling in the period until July 2022.
The report also said training facilities and infrastructure were inadequate to service the increased number of race starters targeted by the plan and that improvements were needed.
However, it referred to increasing the number of horses in work "within approximately two hours south of Sydney" and "the potential to add between 500 and 550 stable boxes and ancillary facilities to racecourses in the Sydney basin".
The NJC's chances of gaining funds to improve stabling therefore remain unknown.
The club secured $11.2 million from Racing NSW in a historic vote by members in 2012.
It changed the club's governance structure to include Racing NSW appointed directors in return for funds to conduct a much-needed overhaul of its course proper.
The club has since worked to improve its on-course stables.
The Herald revealed in March 2017 the NJC's concept plans for a $20 million 508-horse, two-storey stable facility on the Chatham Street side of Newcastle Racecourse.
However, cost blowouts from the launch and maintenance of the new sand-based track have since led to a scaled-down approach.
NJC chief executive Matt Benson said the club was now focused on plans for stage one of a potential three-stage development to create a single-storey, 400-stable complex.
The revised plan will start with the construction of new raceday stables to free up the existing area at the Chatham Street end.
Stages two and three, which will be contingent on securing funds from Racing NSW, will likely be the building of two 200 lots of stables at the site.
"We're committed to embarking on this process and we feel this is the best approach," Benson said.
"We have a concept plan for the day stalls to move them down to the lawned trackside area at the 200-metre mark of the straight.
"The horses would simply walk up just inside the outside rail to the mounting yard.
"We're in the budgeting process now and have set aside money for getting race stalls designed and through to submitting a DA.
"The club is organising its finances to push ahead with the new day stalls. All other funding is in the lap of the gods, but we hope to know more in the next four to six months."
Benson said the stage two creation of 200 on-course stables at the existing raceday stalls area would "at least provide facilities for existing leading trainers here".
Stage three would aim to attract other trainers who wanted to secure more stables.
Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, who sits fourth on the Australian premiership with 171 winners this season, is in need of more stables for his expanding team.
Benson said the club was pushing ahead with plans "on the basis that Newcastle is strategically significant as the northern centre" of racing in NSW.
He said the ideal outcome would be to move all on-course stables to the Chatham Street site, which "would allow us to free up the Beaumont Street end to explore other futures".