The first low-maintenance, synthetic racetrack has been opened in Australia, to the delight of owners and trainers Down Under.
The Cushion Track surface was unveiled at Corbould Park Racecourse on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland on 6 April.
The synthetic track, made of silica sand, rubber, fibres and wax, was built to replace the original sand track at Corbould and manufactured by British-based firm Equestrian Surfaces International Ltd.
Nearly 3,500 people attended the first meeting under the new surface and reports from jockeys and trainers were positive.
Leading Sunshine Coast jockey Ken Pope rode a number of horses on the track and said: “The track was consistent the entire way round.”
Caloundra premier trainer Trevor Miller also echoed the praise for the track.
“It will enable us access to a premier training and racing surface no matter what the weather conditions”, he said.
The AUS$6million project required 9,000 tonnes of Cushion Track surface and seven months to complete.
It is the first low-maintenance surface in Australia and allows vertical drainage. The wax element ensures binding and eliminates kick back so that watering and maintenance are reduced.
Queensland Racing Ltd chairman Bob Bentley said Cushion Track was chosen primarily for the reduced maintenance it requires in comparison to non-synthetic surfaces.
With the shortage of water in Australia becoming an increasing problem, unlimited water supplies required to maintain turf is not an option. The State Government invested $4million into the new surface as it will save water and because racing is a huge contributor to the economy in Queensland.