New Cambridge track back on target

The construction of the Cambridge Jockey Club’s synthetic track in New Zealand is back on target.

Civil works for the track are nearing completion and the club was waiting upon the expertise of Australian-based company Martin Collins to be able to mix and lay the track surface.

The Martin Collins cavalry is now set to arrive with the Cambridge Jockey Club’s application for a travel exemption granted last week.

“We are now in the process of just finalising their visas for them to come over,” Cambridge Jockey Club chief executive Mark Fraser-Campin said. 

“They will have to do their quarantine, but the biggest hurdle was getting an exemption to get them over and we received that last week.

“We are hoping that within a month they will be here and out of quarantine. By the end of this week we should have all the visas wrapped up and they should be booked on flights.”

While the COVID-19 lockdown has delayed the project, Fraser-Campin said the arrival of Martin Collins’ personnel should work in perfectly with the conclusion of civil works at the site.

“We are lucky enough that the timing isn’t going to be too bad,” he said. “We are just doing a final layer now of the asphalt and we are about halfway through that.

“There is still a couple of weeks left of that and then hopefully there is not too much downtime before the guys start mixing.”

Fraser-Campin said it is a relief to finally attain the travel exemption and Martin Collins is aiming to get the track completed as soon as possible.

“They have indicated to us that they are going to work good, strong hours and try to get it done pretty quickly,” he said.

“Originally they were talking 200 tonnes per day to mix. They felt they could push that out to 350 tonnes per day, and there is about 8000 tonnes to mix.”

The Cambridge synthetic track is one of three all-weather tracks scheduled to be built around New Zealand, with the other two set to be built in Christchurch and Palmerston North.

The tracks will help support racing’s major code in a $1.6 billion industry that sustains 14,398 full-time equivalent jobs across the nation and in excess of 58,100 individuals who participate in the New Zealand racing industry.  

Cambridge's new track, picture Trish Dunell