KEEPING TRACK | Update on the StrathAyr track project - Part 3

31 Jan 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

We’re well underway with our track project (click here to read Part 1 and 2 of our ‘Keeping Track’ series) and in this edition we will outline the progress made since our last update in October.


We’ve also got some drone footage of the track (taken at the end of last year) that serves to highlight the scale of the project as well as a ‘spotlight on’ the new Polvin fencing product set to be installed shortly.

A birds-eye view

‘A minute with Martin’ will return in Part 4

Click on the video below to view some drone footage taken of the track upgrade project in late 2022.


The business has taken the opportunity to also upgrade the running rail and fencing oncourse to ensure maximum safety for horse, rider and attendee over the course of the track upgrade project.

Enter: Polvin fencing

The mesh fencing created by Polvin Fencing Systems


The latest dirt (or rock!)

Our project team provides a progress report on how things are shaping up.

In October last year, we sent out the second of our quarterly updates regarding our track upgrade project. It is now time to check in and see what has been completed since that update and what is planned through the first quarter of 2023.

A recent snap showing how the track at Ellerslie is shaping up.


1. What has been done since the last update?

Up until mid-January, the following has been completed.


  • All underpass units, and the head walls are being installed. The underpass is now waterproofed, and the kerbs inside have been poured.

  • Concrete works to connect the underpass head walls to the surrounding rock walls have been completed and backfilling of the underpass has commenced.

  • The drainage and soakholes are currently being installed.

  • Installation of ducts for power and communication cables has started this week.


  • Work on the new irrigation pond has commenced. The excavation of clay has been progressing and since October, approximately 10,000m3 of material has been excavated. Wet weather has slowed progress and not allowed the excavation to proceed with full efficiency.


  • The Steward’s Tower which was located on an adjoining property has now been relocated to the back of the 2400 metre chute.

  • Sign boards are currently being repaired along the back straight and this is expected to finish in the next few weeks .

  • Most of the home straight subgrade has been handed over from HEB to StrathAyr with approximately 9,000m2 of the track under construction by StrathAyr. These works have been delayed by wet weather and shallow rock.

  • StrathAyr intends to start seeding the track in late March, weather dependent.

  • Drainage works have been progressing well and the focus now is installing the remaining sections that are leading to the pond.

StrathAyr Track Profile

  • Installation of subsoil drains started at the 350-metre mark in the home straight and have progressed right around to approximately the 1600 metre mark on the course proper except for the track crossing used by the Golf Warehouse. Significant amounts of rock has been found in this area which has slowed the progress.

  • As the subsoil drains are installed, the gravel layer has been laid which stabilises the subgrades which allows StrathAyr to lay the lower sand layer and reinforced sand (sand and mesh) layer.

  • The installation of gravel layer has also allowed StrathAyr to receive deliveries of sand and place the sand straight onto the track, stockpiling for future use. Approximately 230 metres of the lower sand layer and the reinforced sand layer has been installed.

  • Significant rainfall through October, November, December and into 2023 has meant some programme delays which we are still accessing.

2. What’s next to be completed?

  • HEB will continue to prepare the track subgrade.

  • The new underpass will be backfilled and inground services laid.

  • Watercare is expected to connect the new watermains within the racecourse in the next month.

  • StrathAyr will continue to lay subsoil drainage and lay the StrathAyr mix down the back straight as HEB handover more of the track and will be switching to the 2400 metre chute through to area of track above the new underpass

Another snap showing what’s been going on at Ellerslie in recent months.


3. What’s gone well since the last update?

  • Drainage works and the installation of the underpass, with all its adjacent concrete works, went well and according to the programme.

  • Due to perfect weather from 11 January, the area of track between the 1400 metre mark and 1200 metre mark was handed over to StrathAyr as per the most recent programme.

4. What challenges have been faced since the last update?

  • As expressed earlier, the main challenge so far has been the wet weather. After every rain event it takes several days (up to a week) of dry weather before HEB can recommence earthworks on site.

  • Shallow rock levels have slowed the works in some areas given the rock has to be removed so StrathAyr can install their drains.

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