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Cairns Jockey Club celebrates work at track

By Darrin Davies

The Cairns Jockey Club (CJC) is celebrating the latest stage in remediation work at the track which has given them more certainty during the wet season.

Earlier this year Racing Queensland (RQ) instigated stage two of the project under the Country and Regional Capital Works Program funded by the Racing Infrastructure Fund (RIF).

Before the project it was common for the Club to lose up to six race meetings a year because of the City’s torrential rain and the inability of the existing drainage to disperse the water.

RQ implemented a herringbone pattern drainage strategy as part of the remediation works which resulted in drains being laid laterally in-line with the track and across the track.  Stage one was finished late last year.

CJC CEO John Cameron said the results are outstanding. “Cairns normally receives around two metres of rain a year and that can be devastating on our race schedule. With the new drains we have witnessed a 200% improvement.”

From January until the end of the first two weeks of March Cairns received 1.8 metres of rain yet the club did not lose a race and none of the races were beyond a soft track.

“The grass is greener, the root system is going down further and the track is performing exceptionally well.

“We have had 300 mm of rain in the days before a race meeting and we have still managed to race on a soft track. It’s a massive improvement and I put that down to the infrastructure team from Racing Queensland, the RIF funding and the design work by Labosport.”

“This work by RQ has been critical for the club because all but two of our races are TAB which means the city and all racing stakeholders get the full benefit of a track that is fit for purpose.”

Stage two of the project is now well underway with the purchase of a sand spreader for the club, also funded by the RIF. Mr Cameron has made the spreader available to other clubs in the region to help them with their track surfaces.

“We are putting five mm of sand on the track at selected times to lift the track away from the water table, to change the soil composition and to improve drainage even further.

“By the end of the year we will have added 80 mm of sand to the surface and we will reach the half way point by the time we celebrate the Cairns Cup Carnival.”

The Red Beret Hotel Cairns Cup Carnival takes place over two weekends starting on Saturday, August 4, with the Newmarket Handicap over 1400m. The final day on Saturday, August 11, is the Cairns Cup over 2100m.

Both feature events form part of the $350,000 UBET Northern Crowns Series which provides Queensland participants with the opportunity to compete for rich stayer and sprinter bonuses.