04th September 2013

Maintenance matters: the Kingsdown Polytrack

The Kingsdown Polytrack is one of eight artificial surfaces available to trainers at Lambourn.

It is on an incline, eight furlongs long and has a spur at 3 furlongs for shorter work. This makes it a very popular gallop for flat and jumps trainers with around 200 horses using it daily, six days a week. So it is important, as with all our gallops, that we keep it in the best possible condition.

This October we start a £100,000 project to refurbish the gallop. No small job, given that it involves 9,156 square metres of polytrack.

First task? To remove first half furlong of surface completely. Horses hack to the start of the gallop, which means the first 100m is prone to getting contaminated with foreign matter bought in on their feet.

This job done, the second stage is to spread out remaining surface across the whole of the gallop. The surface is then 'bucket flipped' which means that the entire surface of the gallop gets turned over all along its eight furlong length.

Evening out the gallop obviously reduces its depth down to around 5.5 inches, so the last stage is to top it up with a further 1.5 inches of new surface.

We use a special blend of fibre, silicon sand, PVC granules and lots of wax that has been tried and tested on the Newmarket polytracks. Fibre is important because it adds energy to the surface - the bounce that allows horses to spring off the surface. This breaks down over time and it is important that it is replaced.

The whole project will take two weeks, but it will be worth it when we see the horses back on the gallops.