Leading SA trainer Tony McEvoy has given an emphatic thumbs up to Murray Bridge Racing Club’s Fibretrack sand training track.
McEvoy galloped 19 horses over the surface on Wednesday morning and was so impressed he immediately vowed to make the practice a regular feature of his training regime.
“Having seen and walked that track at Murray Bridge, it just looked a beautiful layout and a lovely surface, so I sought permission to gallop some horses on it,” McEvoy explained.
“I loved the sound of it and I loved the way my horses used their actions on it.
“I took a couple of horses that haven’t got great actions – they’re normally shortish actions – and I thought they used themselves as good as I’ve seen them.
“It wasn’t too stressful on the horses. They galloped and came back to me like they really enjoyed the work. They weren’t showing any signs of distress, which tracks can put on horses if they’re uncomfortable on them.”
McEvoy’s opinion was backed up by stable jockey Barend Vorster, who partnered many of the horses on Wednesday.
“I was actually very impressed with it,” he said.
“We took some nice quality horses there and they all glided over it comfortably. They all enjoyed it and they came off the track feeling good.
“I’ve ridden on some nice synthetic tracks overseas and I wouldn’t be scared to do some barrier trials or even run some races on a track like that, because it felt very nice underfoot.”
McEvoy said he was heartened by Vorster’s review of the surface, which rates the same all year round, providing guaranteed consistency for trainers.
“Barend Vorster is extremely experienced, with world-wide experience on all sorts of surfaces,” he said.
“Barend told me they just floated over the track.”
The positive experience will result in increased usage of the Fibretrack facility, installed as part of the Gifford Hill project.
“I’ll use it as much as I can,” McEvoy said.
“It’s a bit of an exercise for me, because I’ve got to get them all there and it’s not cheap to do, but it’s a beautiful surface and if I think one of my horses needs a gallop I’ll go there.
“I have my own Pro-Ride surface here (at Angaston), but the furthest I can gallop is only 800m…
“Sometimes horses need to work over a little bit further and some horses get lazy at home, and taking them to a new environment stimulates them.
“So yes, I’ll be going there and I strongly encourage the (Murray Bridge) trainers to use it.”
The 19 horses to gallop on the 1800m Fibretrack surface were spread across eight pairs and one ‘triple’
Recently relocated apprentice jockey Jessica Eaton partnered some gallopers on the Fibretrack facility last week and delivered a similarly glowing review afterwards.
Fibretracks are waxed, blended silica sand-based tracks, considered ideal for equine activity.