A significant milestone has been reached with the completion of the Civil Works component of the Riccarton Park Synthetic Track (ST).
Construction of the Synthetic Track is being funded by a $10.5m Government grant administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Development Unit and $3m from the Trustees of the Christchurch Racecourse.
Canterbury Jockey Club CE Tim Mills said that contractor Fulton Hogan had completed the work to schedule and on budget. “This work, which began in January, included the shaping of the layout of the track and the subsequent pavement layers along with the installation of kerbing and drainage pipes, followed by the water-proofing membrane layer of tar-seal and chip,” Mills said.
On top of this foundation comes the Polytrack component of 80mm of drainage metal, 60mm of porous asphalt and 150mm of the actual Polytrack material itself. Work on the Polytrack component of the ST has already begun.
Over the past few months, several queries have arisen which it is timely to clarify:
- The ST does not replace the turf Course Proper. The turf Course Proper will continue to be used for about 20 racemeetings a year including the NZ Cup Meeting, Grand National Festival (although in future seasons this meeting could involve a mix of both tracks, possibly on the middle day, with jumps racing on the turf Course Proper and flat races on the ST), the Autumn and Summer Racing Seasons and Saturday racemeetings. Group and Listed races will all continue to be held on the turf Course Proper.
- The ST is laid out inside of the Course Proper with the home straight running parallel to that of the Course Proper with an ambulance track in between the two tracks.
- The ST will be used primarily for winter midweek racing with a probable fortnightly pattern of midweek race meetings from May to October. This could amount to 12 racedays in time.
- For these meetings, jumps races could be held on the Course Proper with the flat races potentially being held on the ST.
- The ST will be available for use every day for training with fast work on the inside rail and slow work out against the outside rail.
- Other training options will be a re-aligned 15 metres wide, irrigated grass training track, plough, inside grasses and a slow work sand track.
- The ST is 1900 metres in circumference with a 360-metre home straight. Starting points will be 1200m from the middle of the back straight on the ST, 1400m and 1600m from separate chutes (all with a starting limit of 14) and 2100 and 2200 from the home straight, both with a starting limit of 12 horses.
Work on the ST is expected to be completed by the beginning of the 2021-22 season, with racing due to commence on 5 May 2022