Newcastle Jockey Club encountered a deteriorating race track causing safety concerns for horses and the jockeys which necessitated urgent attention.
Officials of Racing NSW and club officials met with Sydney based contractors, Sustainable Turf Renovations to discuss the options available to get the track racing safely and continue the historic racing schedule of the Hunter region.
As a consequence, the track was taken out of action with the objective of recommencing racing for their illustrious Boxing Day meeting.
The contractors had a plan and a method. Utilising their turf specific machinery and experience, particularly in the racing industry and their inherent strict timelines, Sustainable Turf Renovations was awarded the contract.
Sustainable Turf Renovations representative, Operations Manager Grant Thomas stated "I sat in a tense meeting with chief stewards, jockey representatives, club directors and the Racing NSW fraternity - we walked the track and discussed the concerns of all involved. After a short adjournment for the jockeys to discuss "in house" the result was to cancel racing at the track and for the works to be undertaken immediately".
Grant continued "It was a very short turn around for us, logistically to get the machines and staff to site to commence. We managed to facilitate a start inside a week and got busy with our "Koro Field Top Maker, our laser guided machines and turf preparation tools. We had a works program that required surface removal, total re-levelling and re-grassing from 200m prior to the winning post around to the back straight near the 1200m. We started from the "true rail position out 14m". The total size of works was 19,000m2".
"Impressively, we completed the job in 10 days", Grant stated "and with extremely limited notice for the work, all involved were thoroughly satisfied. We found it a good job to be involved in given the positive nature of the Race Club and the onsite supervision of the experienced racing identity and Racing NSW representative, Mr Dave Hodgson".
Newcastle Jockey Club Chief Executive officer, Mr Cameron Williams echoed the praises of Sustainable Turf Renovations stating " we were in trouble, the track's condition had diminished over time and with a heavy racing schedule providing continual racing for the community of Newcastle, we found ourselves in a position where we had to put the safety of our horses and jockeys first and cancel 10 - 12 weeks of racing. Financially crippling as it is, the safety first approach needed to be adopted and the long-term gains of the re-levelled and re-surface home bend and straight quite simply, needed to be undertaken.
Mr Williams continues "The scope of works and methodology proposed and implement by Geoff (Hatton) and Grant (Thomas) and the Sustainable Turf teamwas impressive. I am pleased to have been involved through this chaotic time for the club because the light at the end of the tunnel means our club can provide a quality racingsurface for our members and patrons. I must thank Sustainable Turf for their professionalism and execution, we are on target for the Boxing Day meeting - I can't wait".
Grant Thomas added "the weather will be the determining factor in the new Kikuyu establishing in time for the Boxing Day meeting. However, we have given it the best chance possible and with the weather on our side I am extremely confident. We have added this high profile job to our growing CV in the racing industry and look forward to our continuing relationship with Racing NSW. Our reputation in QLD with Eagle Farm and Doomben is fantastic also in SA at Morphettville, so to be growing in stature closer to home, in NSW is pleasing".
He finished with "the Racing Mangers and their boards require quality workmanship and contractors they can trust, we will happily be that contractor - they are a great bunch of blokes".
Racing identities will know Sustainable Turf Renovations from their continued involvement at the manager Conference, where most recently in August, on the Gold Coast displayed their new Koro Top Drain during a demonstration.
See www.sustainableturf.com.au for more information or contact:
NSW - Grant Thomas - 0419 415 512
SA - Phil Toy - 0409 992 453
QLD - Duncan Swinton - 0409 438 304