Fylde coast horse track makers in race to get to Turkmenistan

A company which makes high performance horse racing tracks is having to work at the gallop to satisfy its latest £1m order.

Sunday, 16th February 2020, 6:45 am

Andrews Bowen of Singleton has been called in to lay a new track in the horse-mad Asian country of Turkmenistan, where even the leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has taken part in races.

The firm was contacted in November about supplying its specialised all weather surface and bosses flew to Instanbul in nearby Turkey to meet Government representatives to sign the deal two weeks ago.

Now they have to supply 10,000, one tonne bags of the special material and have it shipped out from Liverpool to the country which lies between the Caspian Sea and Afghanistan in time for the start of its horse racing season at the start of April.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Andrews Bowen has been called in to deliver a horse racing surface for a new track in Turkmenistan. The material will fill 10,000 bags and is to be shipped out from Liverpool

The deal was done so quickly that bosses Simon Bowen and David Andrews had to check with their suppliers and call round quickly to make sure they could get enough bags and trucks to haul the material to the port.

Simon Bowen said: "As you can imagine it’s quite a sizeable operation, especially as the timescales are very tight with the opening ceremony being in April.

"It is a bit nerve-wracking, but we have taken on eight extra staff to help out and luckily at this time of year, there is not as much work to do on local farms so we have got some extra help from some of the farming lads.

"Unfortunately, the storm has closed the port at the moment which is slightly worrying.

Simon Bowen and David Andrews

"We are currently filling 300 to 350 bags a day and finding 10,000 one-tonne bags at short notice was not easy. But it has created quite an opportunity and there is scope for more work too."

The Fleetwood Road company was founded 15 years ago and supplies its special sand, wax and synthetic fibre surface to arenas and tracks all round the world.

They provided surfaces for the 2012 Olympics at the Greenwich equestrian arena, the Horse of the Year Show, Hickstead, as well as in New Zealand, Florida and Qatar.

They currently have a couple of teams of staff working down in Newmarket.

The Safetrack racing surface from Andrews Bowen

Simon said: "Ironically despite having deserts, they have the wrong kind of sand there. The grains are too rounded, you need more angular grains. Our surface is a cushioning surface, very forgiving, neither too hard nor too soft, so its good for the horses' welfare and perfect for galloping.

"We come from big horse-loving families and we started because we wanted to create something better for the horses to be ridden on and better for the environment.

"We also make maintenance machines and we are supplying those too to Turkmenistan."

Turkmenistan has its own breed of horse the Akhal-Teke, which is a highly prized breed, noted for their beauty, speed and stamina and families attend the annual races. President Berdymukhamedov has written a book about the horse and has given himself himself the honorific title, ‘the people’s horse breeder’.