VILNIUS 's One of the most unlikely Lithuanian towns 's Trakai, home of the famous medieval island castle 's has been chosen as the possible site for a 200 million euro hippodrome and horse-training complex.
According to reports, a group of Australian-Lithuanian businessmen have floated the project and will ask the government to give it special status.
The project will be located near Trakai, about 30 kilometers from Vilnius, and include race and training tracks, a school for jockeys and infrastructure for major international races 's e.g., hotels and restaurants.
"The Lithuanian hippodrome will be modern and have the most advanced technologies, like a heated track," project director Gintautas Petkevicius told the Lietuvos Rytas daily.
"No such track exists in all of Eastern Europe. The hippodromes in Paris and Londonâ€¦ are a bit outdated," he added.
Petkevicius is director of Baltijos Hipodromai (Baltic Hippodromes), the joint Lithuanian-Australian company that is spearheading the project.
If approved, the project would take several years and be implemented in two phases, with completion of the first in 2007. The second stage would start in 2010 and take five years.