FOLLOWING a glut of racing over the last three months, the Lord's Raceway track is being resurfaced.
The upgrade, which includes the laying of 250 tonnes of new quartz sand, started on Monday and is due for completion on Wednesday.
It is the first time the Bendigo track has been resurfaced in two-and-half years and follows an unprecedented 22 meetings since April 3, including eight apiece in April and May and six during June during the regional racing period.
Harness Racing Victoria employed curator Tom Byrne said given the extraordinary amount of racing conducted at Lord's Raceway in recent months and a wetter-than-normal late autumn and winter, the track had held up well, but it was time for an upgrade.
"We will spread the 250 tonnes with a super-spreader and we use all local contractors," he said.
"Bendigo's a real good hub for training horses and we're so lucky to have such a great facility in central Victoria.
"Going well, it will take just three days. We don't like to hold the trainers up too much.
"They have still been able to work their horses on the inside tracks here until 9am. It's important we keep those horses fit.
"We've been really blessed that we've been able to keep racing (during the COVID-19 pandemic).
Byrne, who has been involved with upgrades at other Victorian tracks this season, including Shepparton and Kilmore, preached safety and user-friendliness over track records as keys to the upgrade.
"I'm not a great fan of speed, I think if a horse is very comfortable he will run fast," he said.
"The profile of this track is exceptional, very similar to Melton.
"We do have a state-of-the art track and when you get the right horses racing each other, they will run (good) times."
After a hectic few months, Bendigo Harness Racing Club general manager Erik Hendrix welcomed the short break in racing needed to complete the resurfacing.
"We actually had it proposed for about four months ago, but when COVID struck, we put those renovations on hold, he said.
"We went to regional racing, which actually increased our volume of racing, and now that we have started to open up our regions again, we have found a gap where we are not racing this week.
"That was the perfect opportunity to resurface our track after a lot of use in recent months."
As drivers and trainers can attest to, the track has been conducive to lightning-quick times, with seven new records set in the 2020 calendar year.
The latest new mark was set last Friday night by the Brent Lilley-trained visitor Cruisin Around in the 2150m trot.
Hendrix said it was credit to the club's curator Chris Boseley and his team, and was adamant the club had emerged from the regional racing period with its reputation well and truly enhanced.
"The track has been flying, especially lately," Hendrix said.
"I'm not sure if it's a combination of the weather, the material itself and obviously the horses, but a long story short, the curators have been fantastic holding the track up, considering the amount of rain and racing we have had on it.
"We got some marquee race nights on the Saturday and Friday nights during this COVID period - normally Melton would run that Saturday," he said.
"We've done the 22 meetings in three months ... considering we normally do 33 over the course of the year, it's been a huge stint in a short period."
Racing will resume at Lord's Raceway on Wednesday, July 8.
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