Polytrack for Fairview

01 August 2012

Phumelela is set to revolutionise horseracing in the Eastern Cape with the installation of a Polytrack synthetic racetrack on the inside of the existing turf circuit at Fairview Racecourse in Port Elizabeth. Installation of the new track should begin within a few weeks and should take about eight months to complete. Fairview will become the 18th Polytrack racetrack worldwide.

A second racetrack at Fairview and the closure of the city other’s racing venue, Arlington, has long been a core element of Phumelela’s strategy to sustain horseracing in the region. Nearly 70 race meetings are held in Port Elizabeth annually and, as things stand, this necessitates two racecourses in the city, namely Fairview and Arlington, because a turf racetrack cannot sustain more than 35 race meetings a year.

But to operate a racing venue on so few days a year makes no commercial sense given the huge investment in land and buildings and the maintenance costs. Consequently Phumelela determined to install a second racetrack at Fairview in order to at least double the venue’s capacity for racing annually and to simultaneously cease racing at Arlington.

The decision to go ahead with the installation of a Polytrack racing surface at Fairview follows Phumelela last November receiving long-awaited permission from the East Cape Gambling Board to close Arlington.

Phumelela did consider installing a turf track on the inside of the existing circuit, which would have cost significantly less, but has opted for Polytrack for various reasons. The most important is that a synthetic track does not require water, which is critical in light of the history of drought conditions and water restrictions in the province.

Other reasons include:

  • Annual maintenance will be some R1.5 million less than turf
  • Polytrack is an all-weather surface that will virtually eliminate the abandonment of races and enable more race meetings to be added to the fixture list in the region if desired
  • Horses can be trained on the Polytrack, thus eliminating training schedules being interrupted by rain The decision follows the installation of the first Polytrack surface on the training track at Randjesfontein, the main training centre near Johannesburg, which has been used for the last six months.

Tags: Polytrack | racecourse