Works on track

February 20, 2019 BY

New home turf: Ballarat Turf Club’s new synthetic track is on route to completion. Photo: CHIPPY RIVERA

THE installation of Ballarat Turf Club’s $10 million bespoke synthetic racetrack is on course for completion in May.

Races will resume at the track on Monday, 11 March for the Miners Rest Community Cup, but works on the synthetic surface will still be in progress.

The Polytrack has been designed for Ballarat’s climate, level of usage, and to minimise injury.

Horses will train and race at their best on the secure surface which looks like sand, but is a heavier mix of fibrous material, rubber, sand and wax.

It will allow Dowling Forest’s 500 plus horses and their trainers to potentially extend their stable size and provide opportunities for more trainers to move their operations to the facility.

BTC recently had two tracks, inner and outer, which meant they could provide a high-quality surface for multiple meetings’ race needs. But the synthetic track is to replace the inner grass surface because it will tolerate a higher rate of usage than turf.

Dylan O’Neill is BTC’s racecourse manager. He championed the new track’s flexibility.

“One of the huge benefits of the Polytrack synthetic surface is that it will provide a consistent surface for racing and training in any weather condition,” Mr O’Neill said.

The track’s installation began after the Ballarat Cup in November last year.

Initially, the angle of an 800m stretch of the outer track was reversed by Global Turf. Evergreen Turf cut grass out from the inner track and used it to replace the outer section.

Racing Victoria conducted an extensive 12-month review recently, looking at the industry’s current and future needs regarding synthetic facilities.

The governing body decided, due to Ballarat’s central location, proximity to many trainers, strong training numbers and track shape that it would be a beneficial place for another synthetic track.

The project has been funded by RV, BTC and the State Government.

Martin Collins Australia manufacture the synthetic Polytrack product, which is a popular race surface, covering 250km of track worldwide. There are Polytrack surfaces at Caulfield, Pakenham, Mornington, Canterbury Park, Hawkesbury, Osbourne Park and Randwick.

The launch of synthetic racing at Ballarat Turf Club is set for Friday, 17 May.

Thank you for supporting local journalism!