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Picture : Stalwart Cape Racing racecourse manager Dean Diedericks and his team have been taking every measure possible to ensure the Hollywoodbets Durbanville Heritage Day meeting goes ahead on Saturday. (Photo – Sporting Post)

Cape Racing have turned around the fortunes of their jurisdiction in a manner that seemed inconceivable just over a year ago and their latest innovation, covers on a race track, caused another wave of pleasant surprise coupled with widespread praise from the racing community.

Greg Bortz was behind the idea to cover a problematic 100m section of the Hollywoodbets Durbanville track.

Track manager Dean Diedericks and his team spent four hours yesterday (Wednesday) erecting hired Bedouin tents in an effort to ensure Saturday’s important Heritage Day race meeting goes ahead.

They finished the operation at 8 p.m. last night (Wednesday).

The bad patch has compromised a couple of recent meetings and, like a cricket pitch, becomes unplayable when receiving too much rainfall.

Dean said, “It’s the only alternative we had. Ingenious thinking out of the box, obviously by Greg Bortz.”

The tents appear to have done the job and Dean said, “I can’t tell you what is happening under the ground, but there is certainly no water coming through from above. There is certainly no rain falling on the track in that section and it is raining now as we speak (Thursday morning).”

The below pictures are courtesy of the Sporting Post

Dean said the covers idea was made just with Saturday’s meeting in mind, but would always be an idea that could be used again going forward.

He added, “The amount of rain we have had has been crazy, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. We’ve had record rains and the forecast for next week is not great, it is like winter isn’t stopping.”

He said the problem area on the bend had originated from upgrades done to the track seven years ago.

He said, “It is a new portion of the track. For want of a better explanation, they wanted the bend to be wider, so they cut into the bank. We suspect there is water coming from underneath as well because of the natural gradient of the site.”

The toil from Dean and his team is with the aim of keeping that problematic area “as water free as possible.”

There are earth drains on either side of the track and last Friday Dean hired a machine to deepen the sluits.

He said, “I went as deep as I could with the machine. The outside sluits are now three to four metres deep, so there is no way any water is spilling on to the track anymore.”

He added, “Obviously surface water from the rainfall has also been impacting on the area, but there has been a definite improvement since the sluits have been deepened.”

Dean said a problem with the  clay in the soil composition at Hollywoodbets Durbanville leading to the track being slippery when wet was solvable, but added it was not easy to implement such solutions while racing fixtures were happening.

Hollywoodbets Durbanville is going to have an extended season due to building renovations at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth and there is also on-going spring treatment at the Hollywoodbets Kenilworth track.

The meeting at Hollywoodbets Durbanville on Saturday is going to be full of family fun and will run from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The racing will be accompanied by braaing and other activities as well as a potjie pot competition in which the winners will earn a share of R25,000 prize money.