Britain’s newest racetrack makes its debut

All weather racing resumes at Lingfield today after a break of almost two months, during which time the whole Polytrack surface has been replaced. In contrast to the experience at Kempton in August, jockeys and trainers are full of praise for the work at Lingfield.

What took place at the two tracks is quite different. At Kempton, 880 tonnes of Polytrack were mixed into the existing track to provide a fresh racing surface. At Lingfield, it’s been a case of back to basics, so they have taken up all the old material, and put down a fresh 10,000 tonnes, in effect, building Britain’s newest track.

Lingfield can justifiably make that claim, as although the new Polytrack is made from the same materials as the old one – sand, lycra, jelly cable, plastics and waxes, developer Martin Collins said that the new surface uses the components in different proportions, and that that over the 12 years since the first track was laid down, the waxes used have become more stable. The result is a racing surface that is lighter in colour, and claims a much more gentle kickback.

As with Kempton, Clerk of the Course Neil MacKenzie Ross provided a word of caution about how the course would ride whilst the surface settled down. He said, “I’m happy with the track is looking and how it performed at the trials. We’re giving the going as standard to slow, as is to be expected with a new surface.”

The card has attracted 98 entries, with leading trainers Sir Henry Cecil, Sir Michael Stoute, Richard Hannon, Mark Johnston, Luca Cumani and William Haggas all sending horses along. That in itself is a mark of confidence in the work that has gone on, and the course executive will also be pleased that the numbers held up so well that
the five-furlong handicap has had to be split into two divisions.

ARC group, the new name for the recently merged Arena Leisure and Northern Racing, which runs the course at Lingfield, has already had to survive one scare over its new track. The Environment Agency is currently investigating whether or not Polytrack supplier Martin Collins Enterprises has an End of Waste Test certificate. There were fears that without one, the new surface might have had to be taken up, but it was confirmed yesterday that would not happen.

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