All weather track planned for Newmarket

AMBITIOUS plans to hold horseracing meetings during the winter months have been unveiled by bosses at Newmarket Racecourse.A £4 million all-weather track could be up and running by January 2005 if councillors give the go-ahead to the course running parallel to the famous Rowley Mile.

AMBITIOUS plans to hold horseracing meetings during the winter months have been unveiled by bosses at Newmarket Racecourse.

A £4 million all-weather track could be up and running by January 2005 if councillors give the go-ahead to the course running parallel to the famous Rowley Mile.

The track would breath new life into the sport's dormant winter months in Newmarket and benefit the whole town, according to clerk of the course Michael Prosser.

He said: "There are some substantial benefits and, from a sociological point of view, it will be extremely good for Newmarket.


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"Currently, our last meeting is at the beginning of November and the town becomes a little bit quieter at that stage until February when everything gets going for the start of the season.

"This will offer a further opportunity for owners to keep horses in training and stables in Newmarket.

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"We hope the track will be used for cantering and gallops – and there are not too many places in the world which can offer a ten-furlong gallop."

The one-and-a-quarter mile course will accommodate 14 horses in any one race and measure 15 metres wide.

If approved by Forest Heath District Council, Mr Prosser envisaged a start date for racing in just over a year's time with a planned two fixtures a week.

He added: "With a project such as this, we are well aware that there are other areas that need to be improved upon including lighting and upgrading the post-equine facilities.

"There is a lot of work to do but the benefits are quite substantial. We have been in discussions with Newmarket trainers to pick their brains and the reaction has been very positive.

More than 2,500 horses train in the town and the racing community have welcomed the plans, which would make Newmarket the fourth course in the country to offer all weather facilities.

A planning application for the new course is currently with Forest Heath District Council and a decision will be made at a later date.

It is hoped the new course would save the turf on the Rowley Mile course allowing more race fixtures and improved training facilities.

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