York Racecourse is one of the elite flat racing courses in Europe and a regular winner of the Flat Racecourse of the Year award. The current site has been used since 1731 and has seen huge improvements in facilities and in the standards of the racing track in the many years since up to the finest of standards that are maintained to this day.
We visited York Racecourse just ahead of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August to meet with Adrian Kay, Head Groundsman.
As well as the 10 ha of 100% ryegrass racing track surface and infield, Aidy’s responsibility covers all of the lawns and other turf areas around the site.
The majority of the nutritional requirements of the track at York Racecourse are supplied by Impact CGF 25-5-10. Aidy applied three applications per year; one in early May at 35g/m², one in early July at 20g/m² and one in early August at 35g/m². Aidy told us “the prolonged release from these three applications of fertiliser provide all of the nutrients the track needs throughout our racing calendar. We keep the course cut to 75mm for the duration of the racing calendar, so even straight after application, it’s impossible to see the granules amongst the sward.”
Aidy also uses occasional supplementary liquid feeds when necessary, based on the weather and climate. The use of Fusion BioGreen NK 15-0-12 as a liquid feed is used during the summer months if necessary. During the cooler winter months, applications of Compass Bio-Complete are used. “We use Compass Bio-Complete in the winter as the wetting agent helps with drainage as the site can often flood, whilst the iron and seaweed content help with disease resistance and to reduce plant stresses”.
Recovery is very important for the surface after racing. “We apply around 30 tonnes of rootzone after each race meeting, which is mixed with grass seed to help fill in any gaps left by the horses hooves.”
The lawns at York Racecourse are fully constructed surfaces with excellent drainage. “We boost the drainage capacity of the lawns with Magnum Forty-Four OneShot, to ensure that every time that we have guests on the lawns during the race meetings, there’s no issues underfoot.”