THE synthetic training surface at the North Rand Training Centre at Randjesfontein, Midrand, is nearing completion and will be officially opened on Wednesday 7 September, according to as report on tabonline.co.za
Phumelela horseracing executive Patrick Davis said on Tuesday that the official handover of the Polytrack training track is scheduled for 29 August. “It’s two weeks later than originally scheduled for a number of reasons, but mostly because of the terrible weather we’ve had in the last few weeks.
Keeneland Polytrack. (bloodhorse.com).
“That first spell of bad weather – the first time Van Reenen’s Pass was closed – resulted in the Polytrack mix of PVC, fibre and wax that (Polytrack inventor) Martin Collins devised over the years being delayed out at sea. This week’s Van Reenen’s Pass closure resulted in the final loads being delayed. This delay has been communicated to the trainers at Randjes’’
The new track was built on the old black Trackmaster track which, according to Davis, was underutilised by Randjesfontein trainers. The new track is 2000m in circumference and five metres wide, which will accommodate two or three horses racing abreast.
In the last few months, the old track was lifted to its base, which is very sound – “the key to any good track’’. A main drain was cut down the middle of the track round the full circumference with outlets every 25m, alternating between getting water off the surface and deeper through the intricate drainage system.
A layer of large stones was then laid and a porous tarmac poured to bind them together. “It looks just like a tarred road,’’ said Davis. “It has to be strong enough to bind the stones, porous enough to allow the water through and thick enough to prevent the Polytrack surface from seeping into and clogging up the drainage system.
“The track is properly cambered and the falls are obviously correct so the water runs away quickly through the drains. All the specs of the track have been signed off personally by Martin Collins.
“To demonstrate the effectiveness of the porous tarmac base we took a 4,000-litre water tanker on to the track a few weeks ago and released the water. It was an absolute deluge, but the water flowed straight through and was exiting the drains within minutes – it was mind blowing how quickly it cleared away! Even when the 150mm layer of Polytrack surface is laid on top of the tarmac layer, the track will drain very quickly, which is why this surface has been the success that it is worldwide as it is truly all weather”
He added: “Full cognisance has been taken of the extreme Highveld weather conditions and the Polytrack mix is specially formulated based on Collins’ international experience of what suits poly-training best – it’s a bit slower than the mix that would have been used on a racing surface.’’
Phumelela’s track managers have all attended a course on Polytrack maintenance and the track will be fully tested before the official opening.