THE current heatwave experienced in Gauteng won’t be affecting racetrack surfaces and racing in the region. National Tracks Manager Dean Diedericks reported on Thursday that all the tracks under his management are in very good condition and that they will stand up to racing throughout the feature periods that lie ahead.
Diedericks commented: “Turffontein’s standside track is looking great for the second half of the feature season. We’re watering it as much as we can. We’ve just scarified the inside track, we’re looking to race on it again on 19 January and we’re on target.
“We haven’t really had a traditional Summer in Cape Town. It’s quite cold with 53mm of rain measured in December so we’ve had to adapt, but visitors to the Queen’s Plate can look forward to a good racing surface at Kenilworth, and we expect it to be good throughout the January feature season, going through the Sun Met and thereafter.
“We have pencilled in seven meetings at Durbanville for March and April, we’ve had positive feedback from trainers, jockeys and the public on the changes instituted there, we look forward to more good racing this year.
“There are no problems in Port Elizabeth, the grass track and the polytrack are fine, and we’re planning some upgrades at Kimberley to help them through the rainfall season,” said Diedericks, who as one can imagine has to travel frequently, but has his eye on the ball.
He noted about the Vaal, where racing was interrupted due to track problems a few months ago: “We received plenty of flak for that, but there were lessons learnt and we have things under control. Both the classic track and the outside track at the Vaal are now in good condition and will stand up to racing.”
Water is being used in consideration of regulations in all regions and Diedericks noted that three old boreholes had been restored at Kenilworth (delivering up to 200,000 litres per day) while five boreholes are being reinstated to reduce the demand on potable water used at Randjesfontein once the quality of the water and purification issues have been examined.
“Generally speaking we are always doing research and looking at new methods and new technology and requirements for track maintenance,” he added.
“The training tracks around the country are satisfactory, with the exception of Philippi Training Centre, where there are issues to be resolved and we continue to look for solutions. Having said that, Philippi has natural sands, it arguably has the best training track in the country despite other challenges.
“We’ve upgraded the old polytrack at Randjesfontein with a light sand track and will be upgrading the beach tracks at Randjes and Turffontein.”
Photo: Dean Diedericks (supplied).