Lambourn-based surface supplier Martin Collins has just completed his most challenging project – installing a new Polytrack all-weather circuit at Fairview racecourse in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on the site of a former marsh.

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“The site has been a real challenge, and was a flooded marshland when we took it over last year,” said Sarah Hosmer, racing general manager at Martin Collins.

This is the 18th Polytrack racecourse Martin Collins has constructed around the world. His busy South Africa division has already installed a training circuit at Randjesfontein.

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Track owners, gaming corporation Phumelela, have closed Arlington racecourse and invested in the infrastructure at Fairview.

They chose Polytrack after the increasingly extreme weather conditions in South Africa were hampering maintenance of the turf track. They hope to slash the annual maintenance bill by R1.5 million.

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Port Elizabeth’s champion trainer Gavin Smith has been training on the new surface since August.

“I’m getting excited now,” he said. “The horses love working on the Polytrack.

“It’s a big change for us all but a huge step forward.”