SPORTENG specialises in the planning, design and construction phase consulting services of Fields of Play across all sports in Australia. Our experienced team all contribute towards designing high-quality Fields of Play for all levels of use.


Known as the sport of kings, a horse racing facility can have a range of different tracks with different surface types. Whether it’s natural turf course proper or a synthetic practice track, the SPORTENG team apply our in-depth knowledge to ensure a high-quality result.


Like other natural Fields of Play, the design for a horse racetrack combines engineering with agronomy and irrigation design. All three areas need to be equally represented and most importantly, integrated in the design process to ensure the pitch is properly designed:

  • Engineering ensures that the subgrade is adequately considered and that the drainage is correctly designed to accommodate the infiltration rate of the overlying profile.
  • Agronomy quickly removes surface water through the profile and into a horizontal draining profile or vertical draining profile.
  • Irrigation quickly removes surface water through the profile and into a horizontal draining profile or vertical draining profile.

SPORTENG’s in-house design team addresses these key elements to ensure the design of your pitch is completed to a high quality and meets your needs and those of your stakeholders.

A synthetic racetrack is an all-weather surface that replicates natural turf. There are three types of synthetic track surfaces, which include Polytrack, Tapeta footings and cushion track. All of these surface types require proprietary systems to be specified, which typically overlay a gravel base layer.

Our technical expertise underpins all our projects, and we are regularly called upon to work on projects of high significance.

SPORTENG projects run on time and on budget due to our team’s comprehensive 3D design work, exceptional engineering expertise, agronomic and irrigation consultation, along with clear on-site direction.

Our Design Approach

SPORTENG lives and breathes Fields of Play. We take our love of the game from the grandstand right into our office. We’re proud to be Australia’s leading Field of Play design consultancy.

Aerial view of a portion of horse racing natural turf track

Our attention to detail is reflected in our mantra, ‘measure twice, cut once’.

We’re dedicated to achieving the best results for your venue and its athletes, whether it’s a local training track or an elite racing track.

No two horse racing facilities are the same. Each have unique properties due to historical reasons or site constraints. We work closely with the facility owners to determine the needs for the facility users and identify the best design approach.

Before we workshop the nuances of the track’s geometry and surface/profile with the client, we undertake a detailed assessment of the existing site to ensure we:

  • Know the condition of the existing subgrade.
  • Locate drainage point of discharge.
  • Determine the water supply for the irrigation system.
  • Identify any site constraints.

Once we have a deeper understanding of the site, we brief and work with the client to create a pitch on time and on budget.

Sustainability Practices

Horses racing on a natural turf horse race track

Here at SPORTENG, we take a sustainable approach to all our designs. Not happy with just the status quo, we always strive to investigate new designs and construction techniques that deliver positive environmental outcomes.

We believe sustainability is intertwined with sports greatness.

As part of this, we integrate your requirements, from budget to performance values, through to sustainability practices – this ensures we achieve a successful result.

We consider the following design outcomes in our sustainability approach for natural racing tracks. These design outcomes include:

  • Designing an irrigation that is as efficient as possible to minimise precipitation requirements.
  • Specifying a playing surface profile that supports healthy turf growth.
  • Nominating a durable and drought-tolerant turf species that addresses the end users’ performance requirements.
  • Consider the use of recycled materials in the growing medium.

When we design a synthetic grass racetrack, we consider and address its end-of-life. This allows us to specify cradle-to-cradle materials and products that have a circular upcycle process at the end of its design life rather than a linear ‘take-make-waste’ process.

Additionally, the proposed synthetic system should have a proven track record of longevity to delay end-of-life conversations.

The SPORTENG team considers the whole-of-life cycle and the use of recycled materials at every stage of design and construction. We make sure that a sustainable end-product starts at the beginning of design.

Racing Track Profile Options

Natural turf horse race course with white ramps

When selecting the appropriate track surface for your horse racing track, there are several options you can consider. A couple of these considerations include the intended level of use and the club’s preference based on previous experience. The SPORTENG team will work with you to determine the most appropriate profile.

Some of the different profile options you can consider include:

  • Natural turf profile, such as a perched water table or sandy loam
  • Natural turf profile with proprietary rootzone stabilisation products
  • Synthetic profile that features Polytrack, Tapeta footing or a cushion track.


Horse racing track with white barrier on right side and grandstand on left side

We follow key principles to ensure the long-term success for a horse racing track. These principles are:

  • A suitable subgrade is very important when constructing a racecourse track. An unsuitable subgrade can lead to pavement settlement or heaving, which is not readily fixed once identified. A detailed geotechnical investigation is required to ensure any subgrade remediation is identified and implemented.
  • The inside a racecourse facility is just as important as its exterior. The low-lying space in the centre of a racetrack doesn’t have any buildings impacting the sightlines. When paired with the track’s cross-fall, it can be used as stormwater. In turn, the stormwater retention can be used for irrigating the natural turf tracks and reduce the need for other water supply.