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Champion jockey Oisin Murphy gives thumbs up to refurbished surface at Kempton Park

Article 6th August 2021 Kempton Park

By Graham Clark

Reigning champion jockey Oisin Murphy has praised The Jockey Club for its “pro-active” approach following a major refurbishment to the track at Kempton Park.

Racing took place at the Sunbury course on Monday 2nd August for the first time since a 1,000 tonnes of specially blended Polytrack was laid down at the track last month.

Costing around £320,000 and taking three weeks to complete, the project saw the
top three inches of the inside 12 metres of the track replaced by the new material.

The surface that was removed has now been rotavated into the outside six metres of the track which is primarily used for National Hunt racecourse gallops.

The latest refurbishment is the first to take place at the course since 2018, and the fourth in total to be carried out since it became an All-Weather Flat track in 2006.

Murphy, who celebrated a five timer at the track on Wednesday, said: “I am pleased that the Jockey Club has been pro-active in maintaining the high standard of the running surface at Kempton Park.

“There was not much kick back and I was pleased with it. It is riding a bit slow at the moment but when it beds down it will get quicker.

“The temperatures are still quite warm so it will take a bit of time to settle in but everything looks positive.”

Equally delighted with the feedback from the new surface is Kempton Park’s Clerk of the Course Barney Clifford.

He said: “We opened the all-weather track in March 2006 and the expected longevity of the track was 10 years.

“This is the fourth refurbishment we have had as we have previously carried work out in 2012, 2015 and 2018.

“We are following a path of carrying out work on it every three years guided by scientific analysis combined with the feedback from our stakeholders.

“We have added more fibre and wax to the new material which has been blended into the old existing material.

“I am pleased with the outcome and the feedback from all the jockeys on Monday and Wednesday was good.

“The times have been slower but not by as much as I expected and that is because we probably had some better horses running.

“It will settle down but the main thing is to maintain consistency and limit the kickback. It puts us in a good place for the winter.”

Before racing returned to Kempton the track played host to a number of racecourse gallopers on 27th July from the yards of Milton Harris, Mike Murphy and Epsom-based handler Pat Phelan who described the new surface as “beautiful”.

Phelan said: “We had two horses there, one with Charlie Bennett on and one ridden by Ella Boardman.

“It did ride a bit slower than normal but that is probably the time of the year. It was a beautiful surface to ride on. Both horses went around fine on it right to the line.

“There was little or no kickback from it.

“While there was plenty of sponge in it when you walked on it and took your foot out you could see it reform and the imprint didn’t go in and stay in.

“You could see the footprint come back up which suggests there is plenty of life in the surface.”

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