As part of the Elwick Thoroughbred track management plan, the track was ‘turned out’ on 8 August for Spring renovations where all critical works were completed to plan by 20 August.
The work consisted of dethatching, aeration, seeding, topdressing and fertilising the track. It commenced with a dethatching of the track to remove unwanted layers of organic matter, followed by aeration to allow the track profile to ‘breathe’. The aeration also removes a small amount of deep seated unwanted organic matter which significantly assists the turf root system to grow deeply and vigorously. After the aeration the track was reseeded to provide new growth to increase the turf density along with increasing the overall turf anchorage. Finally, topdressing material was applied to ‘true up’ the surface, to aid drainage and further assist the germination and establishment of the applied seed.
Two applications of selective herbicide were applied just prior to the last meeting on 8 August to reduce the unwanted Poa annua turf species populations. The herbicide used is taken up through the roots and will continue to take effect as time progresses. The strike rate of the herbicide was better than expected and as a result the Poa annua population has been significantly reduced.
Since the renovation, the recovery of the track has progressed as well as can be expected with the colder than average spring weather. There is a good cover of grass with a light dusting of sand overlaying the main structure, the rate of recovery and the full establishment of turf is expected to escalate in the coming weeks as soil temperatures increase.
As planned, the return to racing will be racing on 16 October with 7 races consisting of small fields with racing conducted on the outer 13m of the track that is not considered the prime racing surface. The prime racing surface will not be used until 2 November delivering a further two-and-a-half weeks of time to establish further.
While Tasracing does not expect the track to be in “peak condition” for the return to racing on 16 October, it is expected be safe and provide a fair and unbiased racing surface. It is expected there will be some kickback with the track chopping up moderately, similar to how the track performed towards the end of the last season in the back half of winter. Importantly there will be no long-term damage to the track.
Mowbray has made a successful return to racing with two-night meetings being held so far. In the return to racing, the track has performed to a high standard providing a fair and unbiased racing surface giving opportunity for horses to win from both on pace and from back in the field. It is expected that Mowbray will continue to perform to a high standard for the duration of the racing season.
Mowbray underwent a major track renovation undertaken mid-April at the conclusion of the last night racing season. This major renovation targeted historical issues associated with excessive thatch levels within the track profile. There were many areas of the track where thatch levels were greater than 80mm in-depth hindering the overall performance of the track and its ability to recover post-race meetings while reducing the overall lifespan of the track. The actioning of major renovations to the track post racing season of this nature has the ability to extend the lifespan of the track by many years.
The Spreyton Tapeta track has continued to perform well throughout the winter period. With racing currently in recess additional maintenance work is being carried out to the track. There is currently a focus on reinstating the track’s surface levels through grading to bring the track back into line with the original design specification to ensure the track continues to race safely, and fairly while maximising the tracks drainage ability.
Track renovations continue to be undertaken in line with the monthly schedules to de-compact the surface and blend the sand, fibre and wax together within the profile to ensure consistency and reduce kickback during racing and training.