Caulfield Track Manager Jason Kerr has revealed that renovations to the Caulfield track are running ahead of schedule and the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) meeting set to take place at the venue on February 14 will go ahead as scheduled.
Work on the Caulfield track began the day after the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), won by Japanese stayer Admire Rakti, was held at the track on October 18 and Kerr confirmed that the entire track had now been re-laid.
Melbourne Racing Club CEO Brodie Arnhold tweeted a photo of the surface on Saturday and indicated that he felt the track looked amazing and Kerr told TVN this morning that he has been happy with the way the renovations had gone to date.
“Some of the turf has been down now four weeks and has had a couple of mows already,” Kerr said.
“In another fortnight or so we will ease the irrigation off it and treat it like a more mature track and work on consolidating and compacting it.”
Racing will return to Caulfield on February 14 for the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) as well as the two Blue Diamond Preludes, Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m), Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) and Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m), but Kerr said that there are plans in place to make sure that the new surface is tested before the Orr Stakes meeting.
“We will have some gallops at Caulfield pre-Orr Stakes,” Kerr said.
“They will be scheduled in for the last week of January as well as some trials on it as part of our return to racing policy.”
Caulfield received a major renovation between 1995 and 1996 when the track was widened and the circumference was extended by 43 metres before the track received another resurfacing in 2005.
The Caulfield track has generally played well in the nine year period between renovations, but the surface was the subject of heavy criticism earlier this year when a midweek meeting at the venue was conducted with the rail out 14 metres and jockeys were forced to steer their mounts away from the inside sections of the track and towards the outside rail in the straight in order to find the quickest part of the track