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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Racing to return to Bath on Wednesday after passing inspection

Grub up! Bath has taken steps to try to avoid a repeat of the problem it suffered last autumn with chafer bugs
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Racing will resume at Bath next Wednesday after the course passed a BHA inspection.

It has been a frustrating summer for the Somerset track, which has no watering system, with five fixtures lost already owing to ground deemed too quick to race on.

However, the going has eased following recent rain, and progress has been sufficient with remedial work on the turf for the next fixture to get the go-ahead.

Russell Smith, executive director of Bath, said: “We're absolutely delighted to have passed today’s BHA inspection and that racing will resume at Bath next Wednesday.

“It's been a very difficult time for the team here, but I’d like to express our thanks to all of our customers, horsemen, sponsors, bookmakers and everyone who has been incredibly accommodating during this time. 

“We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Bath for our final five fixtures of the season.”

Clerk of the course Katie Stephens said on Tuesday: "We've had 22mm of rain over the last three days and the ground would be a mixture of good to firm and good at the moment, but we've also had to do a lot of remedial work on the turf itself to address the effects of the dry spell.

"The grass had died on its feet, as people will have seen from the photos, so it was a big exercise to get all the dead grass raked out in order to let the live grass breathe and grow.

Grub up! Bath has taken steps to avoid a repetition of the problem it suffered with chafer bugs last autumn
"It's been a lot of work, and it's still ongoing, but we've seen definite progress."

The track endured a different problem last autumn, when a scheduled two-day fixture in September was reduced to a single all-sprint card after the far turn was damaged by an infestation of chafer bugs and no further meetings were held until Good Friday.

The bugs had become an issue for several tracks since licensing was withdrawn for the product traditionally used against them, but a different treatment has now been licensed and Stephens has her fingers crossed it has worked.

She said: "A chemical called Acelepryn has now been licensed. The powers that be have got it pushed through on health and safety grounds, as we can't have turf moving about, and it's allowed only on airfields and racecourses – not golf courses, football pitches and gardens.

"There was a window of opportunity to put it on before the end of July, and we also covered the track in the period when they are on the wing and laying their eggs. We'll know in the next few weeks if those measures have been effective."


Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com


 

The ground would be a mixture of good to firm and good at the moment, but we've also had to do a lot of remedial work on the turf itself

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