Cartmel Racecourse in the heart of Cumbria has become the latest racing venue to switch to Barenbrug grass seed.
Hosting just three jump meetings a year during the May and August bank holidays, plus in mid-July, Cartmel can draw crowds of up to 20,000 spectators. The site also has to cope with the pressures of year-round social and corporate events, from caravan rallies and dog agility shows to outdoor theatre productions and orienteering.
For Cartmel, fast recovery and extreme wear tolerance is key - which is why the racecourse turned to Barenbrug in winter last year, as head groundsman Gary Sharp explains. "Our clerk of the course used Barenbrug seed at Musselburgh Racecourse, so she drove the decision to try it. We started off with the BAR 50 SOS after major drainage work left the grounds in a terrible state that winter. But we've since been overseeding with BAR Sprint and haven't looked back."
Combining speedy establishment with strong growth, BAR Sprint delivers the outstanding wear tolerance, shoot recovery and sward density that racecourses require and is therefore ideal for year-round renovations and divotting. What's more, the mixture has been newly formulated for 2011 to include new cultivar Barrocky, a fine-leafed perennial ryegrass that boasts fast spring recovery and an excellent cleanness of cut.
With preparations well underway for the first race of the season, Gary says that this perennial ryegrass mixture is proving just the ticket. "We've just overseeded with BAR Sprint for the second time. We first used it last spring and its wear tolerance and fast recovery really impressed us."
Gary also says he'll continue to incorporate rapid turf repair mixture BAR 50 SOS - which is capable of germinating in cool soil temperatures as low as 3.5 degrees C - into repairs and renovations. Recalling the benefits the mixture brought last winter, Gary says: "We sowed the seed in January, covered it with germination sheets and the grass came through really quickly in spite of the cold snap. The course was more than ready for the May races as a result and looked fantastic."
He concludes: "The Barenbrug mixtures have worked wonders for us - everyone's delighted. Roll on May bank holiday!"
For more information on Barenbrug's grass seed solutions for equestrian venues, call 01359 272000 or visit www.barenbrug.co.uk.