The new training track was laid in September last year.
The new training track was laid in September last year.

More training track trouble

RACE horse trainers should soon know why the new training track at Grafton has been injuring their horses for the past month.

This morning maintenance staff from Pro-Ride Australia, the company that installed the track last year, will arrive in Grafton to conduct an inspection of the surface, which has begun to deteriorate in the past six weeks.

Local trainers were starting to worry that the track, which had been performing superbly since it began operations in October last year, was becoming unsafe.

Grafton-based trainer Phil McLeod said the track had begun causing problems for him in the past five-to-six weeks.

He said horses were pulling up sore and his track riders were complaining about the state of the all-weather surface.

“I’ve got two horses that have pulled muscles over the top of their hips,” he said. “The boys were starting to whinge that they couldn’t gallop on it.

“It probably needs more maintenance. It might be it needs maintenance every day rather once every four days.”

Mr McLeod said that yesterday morning racecourse manager Drew Cookson had allowed horses onto the course proper because of problems with the training track.

Clarence River Jockey Club CEO Bradley de Martino Rosaroll yesterday said the club had been liaising with Pro-Ride for the past few weeks.

“We told them what was happening and they asked to us to send them some samples,” he said.

“They believe that it might have something to do with the sand underneath the track soaking up more of the binding agent.

“They will be here tomorrow to have a look at it and do the repairs to the track. By tomorrow it should be back to its best – 100 per cent.”

Mr de Martino Rosaroll had nothing but praise for Pro-Ride’s prompt action to fix the problem.

“Previously they would come in a day or two to fix anything that went wrong,” he said.

“This time we had sent them samples, which had to be analysed.”

He said the company has urged the club and trainers to give it feedback about how the track performs.

“Because each of their tracks is in different places with different local conditions, they want to build up a database of how each is performing,” he said.

“They’re using the track every day and they should let us know about any problems they’re having.

“We only heard about the problems at the track three weeks ago.”

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