Racing New South Wales has spoken out against the installation of synthetic tracks and will rely on new innovative materials to upgrade existing turf tracks throughout the state.
Chief Executive Peter V’landys said that Racing New South Wales had investigated the prospect of synthetic racing but was unable to find a synthetic surface that was up to their expectations.
“The reason is that it requires an investment of tens of millions of dollars so we’ve taken the wait and see approach,” V’landys said.
“In New South Wales, we don’t believe at this point of time that there’s a synthetic track that ticks all the boxes and we won’t invest in synthetic tracks until such time there is one that is proven at all times of the year.”
V’landys said that Racing New South Wales would look to the future by spending money on improving the turf tracks by installing better drainage systems and using new turf technologies.
“We are continuing with turf racing in New South Wales,” he said.
“As part as the reconstruction programme of some tracks we will be using this new innovative materials that we can trial for turf tracks. They will drain as well as synthetic tracks and hopefully have the same benefits of a synthetic track.”
“Basically, we are looking to have a turf track which has the same capabilities of a synthetic track. That’s what we’re looking to invest in.”
V’landys also said that the board was considering total facelifts for some tracks in the state but nothing has been set in concrete.
“I can’t pre-empt a board decision but this is on the table,” he said.
“Things will start to happen in the coming months. We are in the process of looking at how we are going to spend our money.”
“We may look at putting in these new age turf tracks up the North Coast first because of the amounts of rainfall they’ve been receiving in recent times. There are also tracks in The Metropolitan area and other provincial and country regions that need to be looked at.”
Queensland Racing has installed the synthetic Cushion tracks at the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba and although these tracks allow wet weather racing, their success has been limited as betting turnover has been moderate.
The Geelong Racing Club installed a synthetic Thoroughtrack in 2000 but it had to be refurbished and a ProRide track was installed and was given the thumbs up from several jockeys before reopening in June 2010.
But even though the new Geelong ProRide track has been a great asset during the wet periods, it still has its problems and the meeting on May 25 was called off after two races when the jockeys were concerned with poor visibility due to the continuing rain.
Cranbourne and Ballarat racecourses both have Pro-Ride training tracks and The Australian Turf Club has recently approved the installation of a Pro-Ride training track at Warwick Farm.