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Thursday, August 30, 2007  •  14:09 GMT

Scott Brickall using a Turftrax tester to check the going on the cross country course

Scott Brickall using a Turftrax tester to check the going on the cross country course

ON COURSE FOR PERFECT FOOTING

The year-round preparations for The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are now coming to fruition with final touches now being put in place to the fences and footing by Clerk of Course, Phillip Herbert and his team.

One of the smaller pieces of equipment used by the team of groundsmen is the TurfTrax tester, which was being put to work this morning by Scott Brickell. A relatively simple piece of equipment the TurfTrax tester assesses ‘the going’ and is the same as is used in racing. “It tests penetration and sheer – that is the vertical and horizontal give, both of which are important to horses,” said Phillip Herbert. “It produces a reading between 1 and 15 and around the middle is where you aim to be. It is used throughout the year so we know whether to irrigate or to let the ground dry out.”

This year Burghley, like the rest of the country, has had high levels of rainfall. “The ground here is well drained therefore the weather hasn’t created any particular problems. The conditions have infact ensured good grass growth and we have been mowing continuously since March and I can say the course is in as good shape as it has ever been,” said Phillip.

This was a sentiment echoed by Course Designer Mark Phillips
“Even by Burghley standards Philip Herbert and his team have surpassed themselves,” said Capt Phillips.