Ascot Racecourse Moveable Turf Crossing

Weighing in at over 200 tonnes and measuring 54m x 4.5m, horseracing’s first moveable turf tray was installed at Ascot Racecourse by SCX Special Projects.

Access roads cutting through racetracks are hazardous to galloping racehorses and their riders. The previous method at Ascot for filling these roads used a range of infill materials topped with fibre matting designed to simulate track conditions. This matting however was a poor substitute for shock absorbent turf and provided the thoroughbreds with limited protection during a race, causing them to break stride as they felt the change in terrain.

Without the innovation of the moveable turf tray, improving the quality and safety of the racetrack would have involved the construction of road bridges or underpasses, at a very significant cost.

Ascot moveable turf tray with hydraulics and motors

Hydraulic actuators raise and lower then turf tray and 16 electric motors traverse the unit in and out of position. A wedge-shaped cross section, similar to the keystone on a bridge, ensures a tight fit, eliminating any protrusions that the horses’ hooves might otherwise catch on.

Ascot moveable turf tray in position

A special membrane developed in conjunction with the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) supports the upper portion of the turf tray, ensuring that the steelwork sits below where the horses’ galloping hooves penetrate.  The turf section is tough enough to withstand regular use, light enough to be moved into and out of position, and mimics track conditions perfectly.

Ascot public access road revealed by moving the turf tray

The deployment sequence is automated and operated using a radio controlled pendant, allowing freedom to move during the 15 minutes required to roll the tray in or out on steel rails embedded in the floor of the public access road.


SCX Special Projects Ltd
Roman Ridge Road,
Sheffield, S9 1GA
Tel: +44 (0)114 262 6199