Track Sand Selection
The selection of track sand is a crucial component of the industry and is a function that Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) takes incredibly seriously. It is a vital process that ensures clubs are provided with a track profile that can be consistently maintained, prepared for safe and competitive racing and can further reduce the number of track profile related injuries.
Since 2015, GRNSW has implemented a thorough scientific sand testing and selection program. Before 2015, clubs were largely autonomous in their sand selection process, with an over-reliance on the information provided by private contractors. GRNSW has worked to create a standardised and transparent process which removes the onus from the clubs, approaches the process from a sports science perspective and establishes a minimum standards requirement.
GRNSW acknowledges that each track is different, has a different climate and additional external factors which often require a specially tailored composition. For this very reason, it has never been GRNSW’s agenda to introduce one uniform type of sand.
Despite many misconceptions, in 2014 there were more than 35 types of sand across TAB tracks. Typically tracks consisted of several variations of sand which, without being blended, contributed to a layered and compromised racing surface (refer to figure 2).
Over the last three years, GRNSW has ensured that the sand supplied and applied to TAB tracks is analysed, purchased and provided by GRNSW. When a club requires a new quantity of sand, suppliers are required to provide a physical sample and an analysis report of the material they intend to deliver before purchase. This ensures that clubs are provided with either the identical or compatible track sand to match their surface requirements.
GRNSW works in tandem with contractors, Sports Turf Consultants Australia, club managers and curators to ensure that the final product is conducive to the existing track profile.
GRNSW also undertakes a quarterly testing program whereby samples of clubs’ track profiles are sent to the Sports Turf Consultants Australia laboratory in Victoria. This information is used to provide maintenance feedback to clubs and as a reference point when selecting the ideal sand for the next scheduled renovation.
Figure 1 – Analysis Example
By ensuring clubs have a track profile which consists of either a compatible blend of sands, or one type of sand, track staff can ensure that their track is receptive to water content, can be maintained in line with industry standards, and that a safe and competitive surface can be prepared for racing. Following the introduction of the sand selection process over the past three years, 2017 TAB track profiles now present a consolidated composition (refer to figure 3).
Figure 2 - 2014 track profile sample Figure 3 - 2017 track profile sample