Grounds manager Drew Cookson and his staff get ready for the two major race days at the Clarence River Jockey Club.
Grounds manager Drew Cookson and his staff get ready for the two major race days at the Clarence River Jockey Club. Caitlan Charles

CRJC 'weatherman' has racecourse in mint carnival condition

WHEN Drew Cookson isn't meticulously preparing the Clarence River Jockey Club racecourse for race days, he's checking the weather.

The state of the track hinges on the weather and predicting what it will do, and for Mr Cookson, it makes a difference if you know what's coming, especially during July.

This year Mr Cookson said they've been lucky at the track with mild weather and no frost.

"Usually we do get frost and the track suffers, but touch wood, we haven't had any," he said.

With the elements playing a big role in drying out and preparing the track, Mr Cookson said you need to be on top of what's happening.

"The winds continued to dry it out (after Sunday), so the last two days we've been irrigating," he said. "The track is a soft five at the moment and we will try and get it to a four tomorrow.

"You are heavily reliant on the forecast, seeing what the wind (is like). The wind plays a bit part at this time of year because you can have a still night and a heavy dew and that is equal to a millimetre or two of rain.

"But if the wind blows and you have a dry night, it sucks a lot of moisture out. So its not so much the heat, it's the wind and air in the winter."

Mr Cookson said he's pretty confident that there will be little to no rain over the next two days.

"It's not a real worry at the moment, three days the prediction was a lot greater."

Mr Cookson said Grafton's position inland from the ocean also protects it from a lot of the southerly rain.

"I think the weather is going to be fine with a good track."