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NZTR track update


pete

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New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s (NZTR) Chief Operating Officer, Darin Balcombe, and Head of Tracks and Infrastructure, Tim Lambert, would like to provide an update on the track issues experienced at RACE Trentham, Hastings Racecourse and Ellerslie Racecourse. 

RACE Trentham
RACE has collaborated with irrigation specialists to address the challenge of not being able to water the outer portion of the home bend effectively. This issue led to the abandonment of the Wellington Racing Club's previous meeting on 27 January after Race 4. A solution has been successfully identified in partnership with Total Irrigation, involving the implementation of movable impact sprinklers, which allows the Club to irrigate a broader area. These additional sprinklers will ensure uniformity with the rest of the racing surface before the upcoming meeting on 9 March. To guarantee the consistency of the track, a monitoring process will be established. The Racing Integrity Board (RIB) and NZTR will inspect the track leading up to the meeting on 9 March.

Hastings Racecourse
On Saturday morning (10 February), seven horses were galloped around cones positioned 12 metres off the rail, covering the area that had caused issues during the meeting on Thursday 25 January. Experienced riders galloped the horses, with the gallops overseen by representatives from Hawke's Bay Racing Inc. and Darin Balcombe from NZTR. The consensus among all involved was that the previous inconsistency issues had been successfully addressed. The repairs made after the previous racedays had been given additional time to settle, contributing to the positive outcome. Riders expressed their satisfaction, describing the track as consistent with a good cushion underfoot. After consulting with the RIB, the track has received clearance to resume racing, with the next scheduled event set for Sunday 18 February.

Ellerslie Racecourse
Post the review that took place following TAB Karaka Millions on Saturday 27 January at Ellerslie, Track Manager Jason Fulford used various machinery to break down a thick layer of roots just below the surface which will enable horses to penetrate the surface more than previously. As referenced last week, jumpouts were held at Ellerslie on Monday 12 February, with 62 horses jumping out with positive comments from Jockeys following.  Jason Fulford, as part of his preparation leading into this Saturday, will use machinery which will further enhance the surface. 

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37 minutes ago, mardigras said:

I'm not sure what the jumpouts told them - they weren't going particularly quick. I can walk slowly on a skating rink and not slip or fall over.

My sentiments exactly. Going round at jumpers pace is not exactly a test and Wazza is quoted as saying the track is only as good as it was before the Millions, but needs more work which he suggests should be achieved by racing on it? Phantomcoring removes 1% of organic matter. Sounds like a more significant renovation is needed.

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I dug (excuse the pun) this out from BOAY, when I managed to get the CEO from Strathayr, Frank Casimaty, to come on and answer a few questions several years ago

4.  What are the problems that have occurred around the world and why

Any issues have all been related to track maintenance and in particular in regard to thatch control. Heavy thatch can create weakness at the surface and result in kickback. Toowoomba and Moe had issues that were soon solved with good renovation and maintenance. Since these issues that some tracks had, StrathAyr now provides much more support in the early years in working with the track managers to make sure these issues don't occur . StrathAyr Tracks are not difficult or expensive to maintain but are a little different due to its unique reinforced sand profile and so education on how to manage the track initially is the key to success from day one onward.

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1 hour ago, mardigras said:

Interesting he states they provide much more support early on, so they don't have issues - and yet, here we are.

Yes. It's hard to work out whether it's a lack of advice from Strathayr or a failure of ATR in following that. Wilcox has already said that there was a discrepancy between what they did in the week leading up to Millions day, from what Strathayr said they should have done. Wilcox also said the track needs resting for the winter to allow further development of the surface.

Regardless, it seems very risky to ATR, NZTR and the RIB to proceed with racing there given the limited testing and actions that we know about since the poor performance of the track. Hopefully, the weather complies and they don't have to discover whether it is safe in the face of any light rainfall again.

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7 minutes ago, curious said:

Yes. It's hard to work out whether it's a lack of advice from Strathayr or a failure of ATR in following that. Wilcox has already said that there was a discrepancy between what they did in the week leading up to Millions day, from what Strathayr said they should have done. Wilcox also said the track needs resting for the winter to allow further development of the surface.

Regardless, it seems very risky to ATR, NZTR and the RIB to proceed with racing there given the limited testing and actions that we know about since the poor performance of the track. Hopefully, the weather complies and they don't have to discover whether it is safe in the face of any light rainfall again.

Although I don't think hoping for compliant weather is a solid management approach in regards safety.

Just more poor management.

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Well this is odd. In the earlier press release we were told that Hastings was ok. 

Now this - I'm totally confused as to why Hastings wouldn't be available at the end of May.

Raceday

Due to the unavailability of both the Te Aroha and Hawke’s Bay tracks the following changes have been made:

Friday 8 March: This will now be a Taupo RC meeting at Taupo. The Mdn 1600m that was programmed will now be a Mdn 1750m while the Mdn 2200m race will become 2000m.

Thursday 23 May: This Hawke’s Bay meeting has moved to Sunday 26 May and will now be a Woodville-Pahiatua RC licence at Woodville.

Trials

With the movement of the above raceday, and other club-related issues, the trials for the Northern region will now be as follows:

Tues 27 February: Now Matamata trials.

Tues 12 March: These trials have been pushed back 48 hours to Thursday 14 March due to the Taupo track being unavailable on the Tuesday.

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1 hour ago, pete said:

Well this is odd. In the earlier press release we were told that Hastings was ok. 

Now this - I'm totally confused as to why Hastings wouldn't be available at the end of May.

Raceday

Due to the unavailability of both the Te Aroha and Hawke’s Bay tracks the following changes have been made:

Friday 8 March: This will now be a Taupo RC meeting at Taupo. The Mdn 1600m that was programmed will now be a Mdn 1750m while the Mdn 2200m race will become 2000m.

Thursday 23 May: This Hawke’s Bay meeting has moved to Sunday 26 May and will now be a Woodville-Pahiatua RC licence at Woodville.

Trials

With the movement of the above raceday, and other club-related issues, the trials for the Northern region will now be as follows:

Tues 27 February: Now Matamata trials.

Tues 12 March: These trials have been pushed back 48 hours to Thursday 14 March due to the Taupo track being unavailable on the Tuesday.

Has me beat.

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