Two new irrigators to aid preparation for Spring Carnival

Twenty years ago Corowa-based Upton Engineering designed and built it’s first Irriturf racecourse irrigator on behalf of the Victoria Racing Club for Flemington

The Flemington Racecourse has just taken delivery of two new Upton Irriturf Racecourse Irrigators

The Flemington Racecourse has just taken delivery of two new Upton Irriturf Racecourse Irrigators

The Irriturf proved to be such an innovative concept that was successful in accurately irrigating grass racetrack surfaces that it became the preferred
option at many of Australia’s premier capital city racecourses. It was also successfully exported to a number of the world’s most famous racecourses
in the USA, the UK, South Africa and New Zealand.

Upton Engineering has just completed a major upgrade to their Irriturf Racecourse Irrigator design with one new machine recently commissioned at Caulfield
and two more just delivered to Flemington where they will be used in preparing the grass track surfaces for the coming Spring Carnival including the
2015 Melbourne Cup.

Paul Upton, managing director of the long established Upton Engineering Pty Ltd, says the new design takes into account all the advances in manufacturing
and irrigation technology which have emerged over the last twenty years.

“We are confident that our latest irrigator is highly efficient in operation and accurate in the volume of water that can be applied to the track.”

A key feature of the new Upton Irriturf Racecourse Irrigator is the design of the boom. The two new machines supplied to Flemington are 30 metres
in boom width to command the full grass track width and comprise four individual folding galvanized steel boom sections.

Each of the boom sections can be folded in and switched off so that the boom width can be varied to avoid any trackside obstructions or to change the spread
of watering. The boom can also be raised or lowered to suit particular circumstances or to avoid distortion which may occur due to prevailing

When the irrigator is not in use or stored the booms all fold in to give a maximum machine width of only three metres.

The Irriturf is fitted with a 200 metre length of premium Australian-made Crusader flexible hose of 95mm (three inches) in diameter which is carried on
a hydraulically-activated wind-up reel. The hose connects by a snap-on coupling to a hydrant inside the running rail at every 200 metres so that
the Irriturf can water a total track run of 400 metres a time.

The water, at a typical flow rate of 15 litres/second, is applied via a choice of specially designed sprinklers fitted along each section of the boom.
This helps to achieve the objective of applying more water to the track surface in the least amount of time as possible. At this rate a 400 metre
section of the track can be watered in two hours applying an equivalent of 9mm of rainfall.

Another feature is a portable pendant controller in the cabin of the small tractor that tows the irrigator along each 400 metre run.

Mr Upton says this gives the operator complete control over all the Irriturf‘s features including the volume of water being applied, the height of the
boom above the track surface and variations in the boom width.

“The pendant gives a digital readout of all the features so that the watering operator is always informed on all its operating features.”

The irrigator is also fitted with low compression turf tyres so that compaction along the surface contact — or ‘tramlining’ — is avoided.

Paul adds that they know the flexibility of the machine design, as operators have chosen at times to water each 400 metre inner or outer section of track
individually or on alternate days.

“This gives the choice to water … only the inside portion of half the track in one direction, then to turn the irrigator around and water the outside
section. So the flexibility of our new machine is a feature.

“We took advantage of the latest in CAD (computer aided design) in designing every part. All steel components are laser cut for precision and galvanized
for protection to ensure a long operating life under outdoor conditions,” Paul said.

“Australia’s major racecourses like Flemington are regarded as providing the best grass racing surfaces for racing anywhere and we know that international
racing clubs are keeping in touch with our advances in track irrigator design.

“So in addition to the enquiries and orders we already hold for irrigators from other local racecourses, they will probably be followed up with new export
orders for what is a uniquely Australian irrigation solution for grass racecourses,” Paul concluded.

For more information contact Upton Engineering on 02 6031 1844.

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