The start of the season came with the best spring growth of grass seen in recent years, Mild warm weather helped present the track on some of the best going for a spring meeting in several years.
Contrast with 12 months ago when 30 tonnes of divot mixture was used and 5 days of tracking were needed to repair the course, this spring only 2 tonnes and 1 day labour were needed.
Grass growth through the start of the season was strong, but with this brings inevitable stress on the plant, with damage to the track being more of a bruising element which takes more energy to repair. So while the going and sward were ideal she has shown more signs of tiredness with a slightly poorer look to the sward. With this in mind we have Verti-drained more regularly and also topped up the nutrients mid first half, just before the second scheduled fertiliser application we treated the whole track with a herbicide spray, as this will generally stress the grass slightly the fertiliser was applied shortly after to boost growth and health.
The summer fertiliser program consisted of a organic product called Terralift which is mainly poultry manure based, great for the soil not so good for the machinery or operator(My cat caught the smell and awaited a march of chickens past the gate!)
This season so far has seen little in the way of regular rainfall and we are currently 250mm behind average, but with that said we haven’t had to irrigate much this season as we are reaping the benefits of the Quadrop additive in the irrigation water. This acts as a wetting agent, so on one hand it keeps moisture in the soil to prevent it drying out but also aids drainage so when rain does fall(and in recent years we’ll go 3 weeks with no rain then get a months supply in 24 hours) it drains away easily.
Hopefully over the season I’ll ain to give more of an insight into what goes on behind the scenes here, including the management of the rest of the grounds and buildings.
So the first half of the season has gone well for us on the track, but as always this work comes with it’s ups and downs, unfortunately we have lost a horse on the track this season which always saddens the team here, and just recently we took the sad news of one of Rachtechs stall handlers fatality hard. racing is a worldwide sport but we are very much a close knit family and losing a member always comes hard especially when we are going about our job, Our condolences go to Stephens family and friends, He lead the stalls team here regularly and will be sadly missed.
As with most of the jobs in racing there are risks and the stall handlers have one of the most intense jobs in racing, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the teams working around the UK at this moment for their professionalism and diligence.