Chepstow jump race gets go-ahead
Chepstow Racecourse's first race of the jumps season on 8 October will go ahead after the track passed an inspection.
The final two flat meetings of the season were called off because the track had been infested by daddy-longlegs larvae.
Racing was suspended at the racecourse on 3 September after two horses inexplicably fell at the same spot.
A Jockey Club inspection has identified small areas of loose turf, caused by grass roots being eaten by an infestation of cranefly.
Following an inspection of the racecourse, Richard Linley, the Senior Inspector of Courses at the Jockey Club - the regulatory authority of British horse racing - said he was satisfied that a problem identified by an agronomist as being caused by insect larvae was being resolved.
However, a little more time is needed for the turf management action plan to take effect. A programme of renovations has taken place on the advice of the independent agronomist on the flat track to help the turf recover and remain healthy throughout the winter and be in the best possible condition for the start of next years flat racing season.
The action plan involved reducing the height of cut, aerating, overseeding, increased irrigation and applying a fertiliser.
We will also be spraying the turf in Novembers with an approved pesticide product to help control cranefly larvae populations.
The insect larvae had caused turf on isolated parts of the racecourse to become loose when horses galloped over it. This had led to the abandonment of racing on Friday 2nd September.
Richard Linley said: "The team at Chepstow has done everything possible in the time available to them since the abandonment of racing on 2 September, but the damage to the turf caused by the larvae has not recovered enough to race on.
"Larval insect damage on this scale has not been a problem at Chepstow before and is a rare occurrence at any racecourse. There has been no evidence of it in our course inspections or in the independent agronomist's report from Chepstow. These reports, which all racecourses have to submit annually as part of the licensing process, includes sections on pests and diseases."
Three local trainers provided a total of 12 horses which galloped over the affected area of the racecourse during an inspection.
Chepstow Racecourse's Clerk of the Course Tim Long said: "Safety of horses and riders is always our number one priority, and we fully support the decision of the Jockey Club. The Flat racing track will now be made ready for the 2006 Flat racing season next spring."
Leather jackets are a widespread pest problem on sports turf, particularly on golf courses in the UK and throughout Europe. Leather jackets are the larvae of the cranefly (Tipula species) more commononly known as Daddy long legs. There are many species of cranefly, however the main culprit is a species called Tipula paludosa.
See following link for more information about Crane flies