MUSSELBURGH Racecourse became the first UK track to use a combination of fibresand and turf on its jump track when its National Hunt season got underway today (Thur Nov 8).
The East Lothian course has invested £100,000 installing a 14×170 metre hybrid strip on the winning post bend to improve safety for horses and jockeys.
The section of track which has been replaced suffered from excess wear over the winter jumps season which caused the ground to become loose and a potential hazard.
The fibresand strip has already had a dry run and got the thumbs up from jockeys Brian Harding, Brian Hughes and Lucy Alexander who tested it before Musselburgh’s last flat meeting of the season.
The initiative is being watched closely and officials from a number of other UK racecourses have indicated they will visit Musselburgh to see it close up.
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said: “It’s a sizable investment for a course our size but we are always looking for ways to improve the quality of the racing surface at Musselburgh.
“The winning post bend is tight and quite narrow, and as the jump season progresses the turf gets badly damaged, to the extent that by February there is not a lot of grass left, especially in a wet year. This hybrid of turf and artificial surface is an innovative way of dealing with that problem and greatly improves conditions which reduce the risk of injury to both horse and rider.”
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