Dundalk racecourse to make surface decision in next two weeks

Switch from controversial polytrack unlikely to be completed until summer of 2020

A decision on Dundalk’s new all-weather surface is expected within the next two weeks. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

A decision on Dundalk’s new all-weather surface is expected within the next two weeks. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

The board of Dundalk racecourse is expected to decide within the next fortnight as to what artificial surface will replace the current controversial all-weather track.

However indications from both firms who’ve submitted tenders for a job valued at an estimated €3 million appear to be that any new surface at Ireland’s sole all-weather course won’t be ready until the summer of 2020.

The current Polytrack was heavily criticised during the Spring with suggestions the 12-year-old surface had lost its ‘bounce.’

The Irish Racehorse Trainers Association indicated most of its members had lost confidence in it and a 2020 finish date for any work has caused concerns among racing professionals about a potential impact on Dundalk’s extensive winter programme.

Horse Racing Ireland’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh has urged any work to be carried out as soon as possible. Last month he didn’t rule out resurfacing being completed before the end of this year.

Crucial to all of it is deciding what surface is installed. Martin Collins Enterprises, which put in the original Polytrack a dozen years ago, is competing with the Tapeta Footings firm for the contract.

Dundalk officials are expected to deliver a presentation on the outcome of the tender process at its next board meeting later this month.

Tapeta Footings was established by the renowned former champion National Hunt trainer Michael Dickinson in 2005. It is the surface used at Newcastle and is a mixture of silica sand, wax and fibres.

A statement by Dundalk’s management stressed it will look at the issue in a careful and considered manner and will be mindful to give the winning contractor sufficient time to manufacture the complex surface used.

It also said the board will take into account favourable weather conditions required to best carry out the task.

Almost two months ago it was outlined how a finish date of May/June of next year would be the intended finish date for any new work and that timeframe still appears likely.

“Indications from both suppliers are indicating that is the optimum time for doing the job,” Dundalk’s chief executive Jim Martin said on Monday. “I can’t comment anymore because that is part of the discussions that will take place.”

Racing action resumes at Dundalk in September and the prospect of resurfacing not being completed for a year is likely to concern a lot of professionals.

The well known trainer Sheila Lavery said in April she is boycotting the circuit over safety issues.

Plans to add fibre to the current surface have already been outlined and Jim Martin added on Monday: “We have undertaken to carry out the work that was recommended in the summer and we’re confident the track is in good shape.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.