Early Start For Kensington Track Renovation

By: Thomas Hackett
November 25th, 2014

Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager Of Racing Matt Rudolph has confirmed that renovations to the Kensington track surface have been brought forward after the meetings scheduled to take place on the much-maligned track on November 28 and December 6 were transferred.

Blake Shinn was one of a number of jockeys that were critical of the way that the Kensington track played on Saturday. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

Blake Shinn was one of a number of jockeys that were critical of the way that the Kensington track played on Saturday. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

The Kensington track has been criticized by trainers, jockeys and punters for the way that it has played over the last six months and the issue came to a head on Saturday when the track clearly favored on-pace runners and huge clods of dirt were sent flying up off the track during the running of every single race; with Racing New South Wales Chief Steward Ray Murrihy revealing that he did not believe the surface was up to scratch for any type of racing.

Rudolph admitted that the ATC were surprised by just how poorly the Kensington track played on Saturday and he told Sky Racing HQ that renovations planned to start on the track in December would begin immediately.

“We certainly didn’t envisage to see the track play the way that it did on the weekend and it was most disappointing how it panned out for punters, owners and trainers,” Rudolph said.

“The track management team are out there this morning and Racing New South Wales have offered some assistance with some turf expertise and we have decided to bring the renovation of the track forward.

“It was scheduled to go ahead after the December 6 meeting and it is a new track that was laid down last March, so it has been in for 20 months now.

“We give these tracks an annual renovation, but because of the schedule and the way that this track has been laid we haven’t been able to give it an annual renovation yet.”

The Australian Turf Club opted to lay a Kikuyo form of grass known as Village Green and the reviews of the previously unknown type of grass have generally been poor since the tracked was reopened last March.

Rudolph said that the aggressive nature of the Village Green grass was causing the majority of the problems on the Kensington track, but he hopes that the surface will be improved after the thatch layer, the dead organic mass in between the leaf and the soil, completely removed.

“We have found that the layer with these new type of Kikuyo has built up quiet aggressively and that is what has caused the problems that we saw come to a head on Saturday,” Rudolph said.

“We decided to transfer the next two meetings, remove that thatch layer and get on with the renovations.

“Hopefully it will be onwards and upwards from there.”

The twilight meeting that was set to be held on the Kensington track on Friday has been moved to Warwick Farm, while the ATC are hoping that the meeting on December 6 can be held on the Royal Randwick course proper.

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