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EXPERT VIEW.

Byline: Prof Wayne McIlwraith

CALIFORNIA's experience of synthetic surfaces has demonstrated the need for further research, research that Professor Wayne McIlwraith believes should have been carried out before the new tracks were installed.

McIlwraith, director of the university's Equine Orthopaedic Research Centre, says: "People didn't do their homework before installing the tracks. We pleaded with them to do research first, but there was no research and then they spent $10 million on each racetrack."

McIlwraith is working on a project examining how synthetic surfaces react to changing temperatures. Last year, the study focused on Del Mar's Polytrack. "In Southern California it is hot and dry. We found that, when the temperature rose, the wax melted. Watering helps, but water is a precious commodity in Southern California.

"Every synthetic track in California is different and they have all had maintenance problems."

Yet McIlwraith still believes in synthetics. "This is not the time to cut and run. There is work to be done on the improvement of maintenance procedures."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 5, 2009
Words:167
Previous Article:WHO SAID THAT DIRT WAS DEAD? How this Breeders' Cup could be the last on a synthetic surface as tide of opinion shifts back towards doing things the...
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