While there has been significant commentary from various parties regarding the Elwick thoroughbred track in recent days via traditional and social media, it is prudent to make the following points:
- The track itself is in good condition with no damage.
- The overall direction in which the track is moving is as the experts expect with no long term concerns for the sustainability of the racing surface.
- The issue is a turf problem where it has struggled to recover in a few areas from the heavy wear following the return to racing and trialling during winter.
- Recent works carried out in December did not deliver a consistent outcome across the turf surface and left a number of bare patches that were then filled with nine inch plugs which did not develop and stabilise in the required manner.
On Monday 28 December Tasracing flew in StrathAyr’s senior track construction and repair expert from Victoria to inspect the problem areas and implement remediation works. StrathAyr also assigned local staff to assist with this work and Tasracing brought additional staff from Mowbray.
These works were completed initially in the 15-metre to 28-metre area by Monday evening with some minor additional work carried out on Tuesday 29 December. The remainder of the remediation work was completed by Wednesday morning (30 December).
Prior to Christmas, Tasracing appointed a dedicated Turf specialist, Chris Hay, who started with Tasracing on 4 January. Chris’s sole focus will be the turf track maintenance. Chris is a highly respected turf specialist and is sought after in Tasmania and interstate.
In addition, StrathAyr staff will be in attendance over the next few weeks to assist Chris in managing the turf surface and modifying the maintenance program to provide the best possible outcomes moving forward.
Further, Tasracing has been in discussions with the Moonee Valley track manager, Marty Synan, for some time. Marty and his counterpart from Flemington, Liam O’Keefe, visited the track on 5 and 6 January. Marty has significant experience with these tracks (Moonee Valley is also a StrathAyr track put in 1994/95 and Flemington is a sand track).
Following their visit Liam said: “Remedial works on the Elwick Course Proper have been completed successfully and the track will be safe for racing on Sunday 24 January. Marty and I look forward to working with Tasracing and Elwick track staff to ensure the track continues to improve moving forward.”
Marty said: “After inspecting the remedial work carried out at Elwick I am confident the meeting scheduled for Sunday 24 January will proceed and the track will continue to improve before the running of the Hobart Cup.”
Tasracing understands that confidence in the track and the works being performed is a critical industry issue and will hold track walks on 14 and 21 January, to provide trainers and jockeys the opportunity to see the condition of the track.