Early morning on Warren Hill in Newmarket

10th June 2015

Golden times on the gallops at Newmarket

We’ve been very busy in Newmarket, and it is great to see so many Newmarket-trained horses performing well on the track. Having the first three home in the Investec Derby was fantastic. Our congratulations to John Gosden and William Haggas.

There are over 2800 horses who currently use our facilities, a record high. The more horses the better obviously, but this also leads to additional maintenance. Plus we have to keep improving. We’ve just done a big project at the base of Warren Hill rubberising a large area at the bottom of the gallop. It used to be concrete so rubberising a large area might be expensive (in the region of £125,000) but is great for the safety of the horses. It's a much more forgiving surface for horse and rider.

Just like our colleagues at Lambourn, it is all about mowing the grass at the moment. We have slightly more than they do (2,500 acres). The last three or four years we have been working with a company called Votex to develop an extra wide mower that will cut an area up to 9 meters in width. It’s the first of its type and we’ve been using it as a prototype. It has passed the trials and we’re now going to go ahead and order it for next year. Hopefully it will speed things up.

Its not just about mowing though, we also have some world famous gallops to cut and maintain. It is just like preparing the racecourse, cutting the grass but also doing all the harrowing and spiking the turf. There is a GPS on the large mower so theoretically the tractor drives itself, reducing the overlap on the machine to a couple of inches. Over thousands of acres of grass that adds up and saves time and money.

Of course it is not just about Lambourn and Newmarket. The gallops at Epsom have been under the management of JCE since January of last year. We are in the process of a long project to upgrade all the facilities. This year we are concentrating on the refurbishment of horse walks to get the horses to and from the gallops safely. Epsom is a work in progress and we see some really exciting things in the horizon.