Cochrane: Turf club still trying to raise funds for track upgrade

President of the Antigua Turf Club, Neil Cochrane
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By Neto Baptiste

Scarce resources continue to stymie efforts by the Antigua Turf Club (ATC) to upgrade the Cassada Garden’s Race Track.

This is according to head of the body, Neil Cochrane, who revealed that the turf club is still trying to raise close to EC$80,000 in an effort to import sand from the sister isle of Barbuda.

“We have to raise $40,000 in order to get sand from Barbuda and then we still have to deal with the vessel bringing over the sand so that may be another $35,000 or so; it’s a herculean effort that is being made to raise those funds. I believe that what we may end up doing in between is actually have a final race of sorts once we are approved, on the existing turf and then move on,” he said.

Earlier this year, the turf club revealed that it had purchased a new harrow, which is a machine used to loosen the soil on the track and also new rails.

There has been little to no movement at the facility however as they await sand from Barbuda that will be used to resurface the track.

Cochrane said the process is not a lengthy one.

“Once everything is in place then it shouldn’t take more than six weeks to have the work completed; it’s getting everything in place that is the challenge because we really have been fortunate to get the support over the pandemic period to raise funds and to be able to purchase the equipment and the new rails, but at the moment, they are just sitting there and we are waiting to get the sand. We have the soil here already, we have already had all the testing done on both sand and soil to see which combination makes for the best racing surface and that has been done by the technician in California who we have been working with on the whole reshape and relay of the race track,” he said.

There has been no racing at the Cassada Gardens Race Track since June of 2019 making it two years since the facility has been used.

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