After a considerable renovation programme in 2013, York Racecourse was looking for a fast return to usability for 5.5 acres of the home straight.
Renovation work commenced in October 2013, but that turned out to be a very wet month. Working on waterlogged ground was doing more damage than benefit, so was stopped until March 2014.
The first meet on the racecourse was scheduled for mid-May so at that point it was even more crucial for the chosen seed to germinate quickly.
Head Groundsman Adrian Kay turned to DLF’s John Hughes for advice. John recommended DLF's Pro Master 80 as it incorporates the new Tetraploid perennial ryegrass Double, which provides quick establishment and deep rooting capacity.
With horses galloping at 40-50mph, the grass underneath is bound to get damaged, but the mixture has withstood the wear generated on race days.
The cover is good, due to the density that Pro Master 80 produces, even at higher heights of cut. The mixture established rapidly in difficult, cooler conditions, providing excellent colour and disease resistance. It is suitable for new builds or renovation where conditions are not at their best.
Seeding was undertaken mid-March and by the end of April it was up to 75mm, even though the conditions were not the best for growing, due to limited light and limited intensity of light.
At the beginning of May 2014, about 6 weeks after sowing, Adrian was comfortable with the density of the grass.
“To get it to germinate in that time,” he says, “is a testament to the grass seed itself. It was a challenge but I felt relieved when it lived up to my expectations. Fineness of leaf was not top of my list due to the nature of horse racing. A racecourse is different to golf and football and requires more density due to the traffic we get on the course – more of a broader leaf with quick establishment I was looking for. I was really pleased with the speed of germination and am very happy with the result."