Polytrack is a synthetic surface consisting of recycled fibres, silica sand and chopped rubber, all coated with wax. Polytrack dissipates (spreads) the impact of horses’ hooves through its surface resulting in a more forgiving surface for horses. The fibres reduce hoof penetration and keep the horses “on the top” and hence decreasing the risk of stress and strain as well as improving energy return.
The going is likely to be “good” on the Polytrack most of the time and likely to be “good to firm” after heavy rain.
“Good” going on Polytrack is known to be close to “good” going on a turf track. However, unlike a turf track or a Fibresand track, the “jar” (or “sting”) would be taken out of the surface, given its forgiving nature.
The wax binding the surface together, when combined with water will “firm” up and this will make the Polytrack surface slightly firmer and faster after rain. The cushion effect of the surface will however not be affected.
Under the hot sun in the afternoon, the Polytrack would be slightly softer than at night due to the viscosity of the wax. However, measurements taken on the Polytrack surfaces on Track 4 and Track 7 indicated that the difference is very small.
Based on surveys from other racecourses which use Polytrack, it was found that the surface was extremely fair and does not advantage either on-pace runners or backmarkers. Polytrack is also known to throw less “kickback”, which means horses are less hesitant to race close together.
It is unlikely that Fibresand form will transfer to Polytrack. Surveys from overseas suggest that turf form actually stands up better than dirt form on the Polytrack.
Horses at Kranji have been training almost exclusively on Polytrack (Track 7) since July 2008. Many have also been training on Track 4 which comprises a Polytrack surface and a Tapeta track surface (which is similar to Polytrack) for over a year. Horses at Kranji therefore should adapt well to racing on the Polytrack.
Surveys from other racecourses using Polytrack show that the surface will reduce injuries to horses especially catastrophic injuries. However, the surface will not eliminate injuries.
The drainage of the track has been totally reconfigured and the camber/incline of the stable turn has been increased so as to reduce strain of horses’ legs when negotiating the turn at full speed, hence reducing the risk of injury. The actual shape/geometry/circumference of the track remains unchanged.