The Groundsman

April 2014

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Bold plan As the doors closed after the last race meeting of 2013, Adrian instigated a bold plan to relieve the drainage issues on the home straight, using a Koro Top Drain unit (available from Campey Turf Care Systems) to install 40mm wide by 225mm deep 'slits' into the seven furlongs plus (around three hectares) of racing surface. This process is based on sand injection at 1m centres down to the primary lateral drains of 80mm diameter pipework at 2.5/5m centres. "I believe it was the first time that the Top Drain had been used on a racecourse," says Adrian, "but because the course is on a very fine, sandy, silty clay, we knew our previous sandbanding (coupled with regular deep aeration and regular topdressing to keep the surface 'open') would have limited effectiveness before the bands started to cap over, which was the case whenever we had heavy rain. "Talking it through with William Derby, clerk of the course, and Mike Harbridge, our retained agronomist, we considered the alternatives and the opportunity appealed to adopt a process that would also help ameliorate the soil. Amelioration is a process that will occur naturally via worm activity, for example, and of course through the horses' action over the racing surface. The Top Drain trenches, removes the indigenous soil, injects sand and re-compacts in one operation. Alan Chappelow (Sports Ground Contractor) completed the work, which saw 1,000 tonnes of soil removed and 1,100 tonnes of sand 'inserted'." The bands were then (in mid- October) seeded at 30gms per m 2 with DLF Johnsons' Pro Master 80, a 4Turf tetraploid ryegrass (30 per cent Ponderosa, 30 per cent Platinum, 20 per cent Bizet and 20 per cent Double 4Turf) for quick germination and establishment, to complement the track's 'base' seed of Limagrain's MM60 pure ryegrass. "Once the soil temperatures increase, it'll be down to the team here to start applying liquid bio-stimulants, granular fertilisers and further mechanical procedures then fingers crossed, we should have a quality surface in place ready for the opening meeting of the year in mid-May," Adrian adds. In addition to the IOG Awards, the York Racecourse grounds team – seven full-time staff, a dedicated gardener and apprentice (the course's floriculture centre produces around 20,000 plants and flowers for all race day and non- race day events) plus two casual staff - won the 2012 Racecourse Groundstaff Award; the second time this award has been won by the team and the third time by Adrian, including his time over the Pennines. In addition to the 10 hectares of racing surface, the team also looks after 3,500m 2 of lawns, 500 floral displays, 5,000m of roadways and more than 5,000m of running rail and crowd barrier. No wonder that more gongs have been awarded from the likes of Britain in Bloom. Indeed, the benefit of this work was clearly evident during the 2012 season when race meetings all around were being abandoned, yet York hosted all its race days despite it being the wettest summer in the area for over 100 years. Also consider the fact that the October meeting took place just 10 days after parts of the course were submerged. But, typically, Adrian's desire for continual improvement in the management and maintenance of the track and the course facilities is non- stop and, unsurprisingly, more recently appropriately spotlighted by his two IOG awards. t Food,Chinese or Indian: Indian My favourite holiday destination: Goa My interests outside of work: Rugby league, weather and reading The most challenging part of my career: Too many to mention but I actually do enjoy a challenge Who I most admire in, or out, of the industry and why: My mum for the way she battles on in the face of adversity and pain The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members: The three Ps - patience, persistence and perspiration. Facts and Favourites i It is important that team members receive support in their personal development " " IOG BEST PRACTICE 23 the Groundsman April 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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