New racetrack irrigator is significantly advanced

Upton Engineering, a Corowa-based firm and inventors of a mobile racetrack irrigator, have used their experience over the past 15 years to commercialise
the watering system and implement it into many of Australia’s leading turf racecourses.

New racetrack irrigator is significantly advanced

The turf track irrigator machines have also been successfully exported to leading race courses in New Zealand, the UK, the USA and South Africa.

Upton Engineering has recently completed the development of a newly updated Racetrack Irrigator with the project involving significant input from Greg
Groves, a past assistant racecourse manager at the Caulfield racecourse of the Melbourne Racing Club. Greg is now the racecourse manager at the Mornington
racecourse, also owned by the Melbourne Racing Club.

The key feature leading to the design of the original Upton Racetrack Irrigator was the need to provide a consistent watering pattern across the full width
of a grassed track. This was to ensure that the track surface and racing condition is common regardless of the track width.

Traditionally racecourses were watered by hand-held hoses or by inground or permanent sprinkler systems and both are incapable of providing a common surface

The new Upton Racetrack Irrigator has been developed using an advanced computer aided design platform, high tech components and highly durable materials.

Another key feature was the need to provide water application at low pressure — in this instance down to as low as 10psi (pounds per square inch)
at a water flow of 15 litres per second.

The new version is designed to be towed behind a low horsepower tractor to water 400 metre runs of the track. The water is applied via a 24 metre folding
galvanized steel boom which can achieve a maximum water spray width of 30 metres.

The boom is able to be manually folded ‘on the fly’ if the track width varies or if there are external obstructions on the track perimeter. The boom height can also be varied using the tractor’s hydraulics within a range of approximately one to two metres above the grass surface. This allows the height of watering application to be varied particularly to prevent water drift and loss on windy days.

The boom is fitted with low pressure, precision application Nelson spinner sprinklers.

Amongst the advanced features are a control circuit that is powered by a small solar power installation that is mounted on the irrigator. Other options
are a wireless remote operation system control for the operator and a digital water application display.

The machine obtains its hydraulic power from the connection to the small towing tractor.

It is fitted with a 400 metre length of lay flat 76 mm diameter irrigation supply hose which easily attaches to an internal track water supply main at
400 metre hydrant intervals.

Greg Groves who contributed his experience and ideas in developing the new racetrack irrigator said it has achieved what he thought were the key considerations.
These include a robust and compact design, ease of operation with significant advances in low pressure, accurate irrigation technology.

“The objective of racecourse managers must always be to produce the best and most equal conditions of the grassed surfaces regardless of wherever the horse
and jockey plan to travel. A consistent track surface condition is what all clubs want to provide.

“I am confident that the new Upton Racetrack Irrigator will be welcomed by track managers wherever thoroughbred horse racing is held,” he said.

For more information on the new Upton Racetrack Irrigator contact Upton Engineering on 02 6033 1844 or visit

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