Hard winter work paying off as Goodwood prepares for season's start

The lush turf at Goodwood
The lush turf at Goodwood

Goodwood clerk of the course Ed Arkell is delighted with how the racecourse is looking with less than three weeks to go before the season opener.

The track stages its first fixture of 2019 on Saturday, May 4, and Arkell says preparation work is going to plan.

He said: “We overseeded in the autumn - before leaving the course alone until February. Since then, we have nipped the top off every week to fortnight, to keep the top off, while allowing the grass to thicken out, maintaining the regulatory two to four-inch length required for flat racing.

“The slitter has been used four or five times to allow the air in and encourage the roots to grow downwards and take in the water.

“With a month or so to go, everything is going to plan. We could now do with about 10mm of rain and the ground should be perfect for our season opener.”

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Arkell said work was going ahead in the site’s wash-down area to give a further boost to horse welfare.

“We are in the process of extending our wash-down area, which will include five new mist fans, a fantastic way of cooling horses down.”

The surface of the wash-down area is being replaced with new rubber flooring.

The groundtaff have also had the arduous annual task of pressure-washing the rails.