Flemington track undergoes renovation
"This is a huge week for us."
Those were the words uttered by Flemington track manager Mick Goodie, but would you believe hours after the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival concluded.
Despite all eyes of the racing world having been on the famous Flemington surface for the four big days, Goodie said remarkably it is the days after hosting 37 races in an eight-day span that it is pivotal to renovate to help the surface and soil rejuvenate itself, in a preventative measure to keep root disease at bay.
"We do a full renovation twice a year - this one is probably as heavy as we've ever done," Goodie said on Monday.
"It's been cored, scarified, verti-drained, top-dressed, over-seeded ... there's a few tractors out here."
Goodie said the prospect of getting racing back on the surface even prior to their next scheduled meeting on New Year's Day was on his mind.
"We'll assess it as we go along. There's been two meetings transferred from Flemington, but we'll have a look at it in 3-4 weeks. I'm sure they might hand it back to me if it's in good nick," he said.
Flemington's main straight, picture ThoroughbredNEWS
Goodie has been in charge of the track at Flemington since 2002, but credited his team for getting the surface in cherry ripe condition for the carnival.
"You couldn't be happier [with how it raced]. The staff have done a great job over, not only the week, but 51 weeks getting ready for it, so it's a big team effort. Without the team, you ain't here," he said.
Asked if it was a success having four days of Good 3 racing, Goodie added: "Absolutely, because you get through the races with very little damage. As you'd see by the way it raced, it was fair, they didn't have to go looking for ground, the ground was there for them."
The weather gods didn't exactly smile on Goodie for his grand final week in some respects - heading into Emirates Stakes Day, TurfTrax reported they had received only 2.2mm of rain during the week, but Goodie compensated with sufficient irrigation in order to keep it safe for horses and jockeys alike.
"It's not ideal [the lack of rain], but you just got to be wary of the wear across the track as the week goes along, and adjust your watering to suit," he said.
Goodie is now doing a rain dance to get some natural irrigation to help the track bounce back from the heavy renovation work being undertaken this week, with storms on the radar in coming days.