A new fleet of John Deere equipment has been delivered by local dealer Ben Burgess Newmarket to Jockey Club Estates, as part of the organisation's ongoing investment in the Newmarket Training Grounds and their facilities to ensure that they remain an international centre of excellence for thoroughbred racehorse training.
The 2500 acres of grounds include around 70 miles of turf gallops and 19 miles of all-weather gallops, which are used on a daily basis by over 2500 horses in the care of more than 70 trainers. Training grounds manager Nick Patton supervises two teams of 12 grounds maintenance staff, known as Heathmen, working on the Bury and Racecourse side sites on either side of the town of Newmarket, as well as a foreman at the National Hunt training facilities at The Links, which are also part of the estate.
These are the first John Deere machines to be used on the estate, and were acquired through a John Deere Financial replacement lease programme. They include two 3520 eHydro compact tractors, one equipped with a 300CX front loader, three 1445 front mowers, two XUV 855D Gator utility vehicles in olive & black livery, and an X740 diesel lawn tractor.
"We chose the John Deere machines after a lengthy tender process involving various manufacturers and extensive on-site demonstrations," says Nick Patton, who had experience of John Deere machines in his previous roles at Market Rasen and Nottingham racecourses. "We use machinery very intensively, so it has to be ruggedly built to cope with the demands placed on it.
"Ben Burgess were very forthcoming and helpful, especially through that whole process, and we also had good feedback from our friends and neighbours at the racecourse, who operate John Deere tractors as part of the official supplier agreement with Jockey Club Racecourses."
The front mowers have been fitted with Trimax flail decks, to deal with the rugged terrain and different types of grass areas around the estate, including roadside verges, and the compact tractors were chosen for their compact design and manoeuvrability.
"Apart from gritting during the winter, and some grass cutting with rear mounted mowers, we'll be using the compacts to maintain the 14m diameter lunging rings, as they have a really good turning circle," Nick Patton adds. "We also carry out contracting jobs for the trainers, mostly power harrowing and rotavating their indoor yards - most of these weren't built for machinery access, so the tractors are also very handy for getting in and out of these tight areas.
"We went the finance route as I believe leasing has many advantages. It's more cost effective, it makes budgeting and forward planning much easier, and it allows us to upgrade to new technology as and when required - plus John Deere equipment is known for its high resale value. For me leasing just makes a lot of sense when purchasing new equipment."
John Deere Limited
Tel: 01949 860491
(Left to right): Jockey Club Estates training grounds manager Nick Patton, Ben Burgess sales representative Mike Taylor, Racecourse side foreman Mick Hewitt and Bury side foreman Colin Driver (at rear), John Deere Limited national account manager Paul Trowman and Ben Burgess sales representative Chris Pateman, with the new John Deere fleet.