Business Central February 2021

92 | RACING INDUSTRY Cambridge Jockey Club New track offers year round racing Karen Phelps The new state-of-the-art all-weather racing track at the Cambridge Jockey Club is proving a huge success since it opened in October. Quality and experience Doing the civil works for a new state of the art all-weather racing track is a spe- cialised job requiring utmost precision. With extensive experience in projects involving signi cant earthworks, Camex Civil was the obvious choice for the Cambridge Jockey Club’s new racetrack. This project has seen Camex complete earthworks including 11,000m3 cut to ll, 8,000m3 cut to waste and trimming of 32,000m2 to subgrade ready for the pavement to be laid over top. The company also graded three storm- water ponds plus vehicle entries. Camex project manager Stephan Brink says that the main challenges of the project were working during the wet winter and also the extreme accuracy required, involving subgrade preparation within millimetre tolerance. Fortunately the company offers the largest eet of TOPCON GPS equipped machines in the Waikato region and so was able to carry out the excavation de- signs in the most ef cient and accurate manner based on models produced by its in-house surveying team. The project was completed on time and to the high speci cations required re ecting the skills of the whole Camex team, says Stephan. Based in Cambridge, Camex has been operating for over two decades and has created a strong reputation for quality services providing on time workmanship and being an enjoyable family orientat- ed team to work alongside. As one of the Central North Island’s leading civil contractors, Camex are ex- perts in large-scale earthworks, civil site works, three-waters infrastructure, pro- cess plant upgrades and sub-divisions. The company is active throughout the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Thames- Co- romandel, Taupo and South Waikato regions and the wider North Island. It offers crews based throughout the region including a signi cant presence in Taupo. One of the company’s most recent completed projects is the Great Lake Pathway in Taupo. The company is currently working on a range of projects including the APL site in Cambridge, roading, drainage, earth- works and stormwater for subdivisions around Hamilton Airport, earthworks for the new Cambridge pools and various subdivision projects for private clients throughout the Greater Waikato region. A new state-of-the-art all-weather racing track at the Cambridge Jockey Club is proving a huge success since it opened in October. Three sets of trials have already taken place and the track has been well re- ceived by the industry, says Cambridge Jockey Club CEO Mark Fraser-Campin. But it is May 19 when the club will be gear- ing up for its true launch when racing starts. “We’ve got some exciting races to look for- ward to and May 19 will be a big day. “We will race every two weeks after that. As it’s an all year track it really excels in winter. It was heavily used in late October and Novem - ber last year and everyone was very positive about it,” he says. Local companies Camex Civil and Higgins completed the civil works and drainage layer with Australian company Martin Collins laying the synthetic surface called Polytrack, de- signed for the climate and level of use. Due to Covid-19 restrictions Mark says a special exemption had to be applied for in order for workers to come from Australia to complete the Polytrack along with the usual quarantining for anyone arriving in the country. He says the new track will present a number of key benefits: it will eliminate the need for race cancellations in inclement weather with other clubs with grass tracks also potentially moving their meetings to Cambridge if need- ed, minimise the risk of injury by providing a consistent, secure surface for horses and fur- ther bolster the region’s status as the largest training facility in Australasia with 800-1000 horses training there each month. “We can train horses in the morning and have races in the afternoon,” says Mark. The track was a joint project between the club, Racing Industry Transition Agency and Provincial Growth Fund, which allocated $6.5m. Mark says the idea had been on the cards for some time but it was the release of the review of the racing industry by John Mes- sara, which supported the idea, which proved the catalyst. The Cambridge training centre has a long history. It was started in 1944 with a group of enterprising local men arranging a meeting in the old Parish Hall as horse sports and racing were very disorganised and casual happenings at the time. Mark says the new track will bring the club into the modern era and it will be one of three all-weather facilities in New Zealand in addition to Awapuni in Palmerston North and Riccarton Park in Christchurch. Mark says these facilities are also looking at the possibility of building syn- thetic tracks and work has already started on one in Christchurch. Mark expects the new track will result in increased employment and business oppor- tunities in the Waikato region as the racing industry is already important to the town with a number of large stud breeders based there. He says a couple of new trainers are already using the track. Mark also sees potential for increased trades to support the industry including farriers and motels and hotels for clients to stay. The tracks centrality and proximity to the racing centres, such as Ellerslie Racecourse, also make it a good investment for the indus- try and New Zealand, as the racing industry is a significant earner for the country, he says.