BHA gives Newcastle all-clear to go all-weather

Michael Dods
Michael Dods
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The British Horseracing Authority has approved an application from Arena Racing Company for Newcastle’s Flat track to be converted to an all-weather surface.

A floodlit straight mile course is planned and the track will be allowed to participate in the 2016 fixture allocation process as an all-weather venue.

Following a lengthy consultation period, the BHA was satisfied with the proposal after receiving guarantees regarding prize money and the quality of racing over both jumps and on the level.

The conversion of Newcastle’s current 15 Flat fixtures has been approved with the deciding factor the demand for an all-weather track in the north of England.

Because of a rule which states there must be two races of a mile or upwards on each card, it has been agreed that some twilight and/or evening meetings may begin between 15 and 35 minutes earlier than usual, although no guarantees have been made that this agreement is indefinite.

BHA chief executive Nick Rust insists the decision to allow Newcastle’s conversion should not be seen as an indication of a significant expansion in the number of all-weather fixtures.

But Darlington-based trainer Michael Dods would rather Newcastle’s turf track be left alone and that plans for Catterick to change surface be pushed through.

“Like everybody, I totally agree that we need an all-weather track in the north,” said Dods, who visits Newcastle more than any other course.

“The problem I have is that Newcastle is one of the finest turf tracks in the country.

“I’m hoping Catterick will get the go-ahead as that would make more sense.

“Don’t get me wrong, we need an all-weather track in the north but it’s just a shame they’ve chosen to do it at Newcastle as it is such a good turf track.”

Sobot’s Selections

NEWBURY: 2.20 Papa Luigi, 2.50 La Boheme, 3.25 ENCORE L’AMOUR (NAP), 4.00 Berkeley Vale, 4.30 On The Huh, 5.05 Cahill, 5.35 Silver Dixie.

NOTTINGHAM: 2.00 Kafoo, 2.30 Impressive Victory (next best), 3.05 Frederic Chopin, 3.40 Shingle, 4.10 Maymyo, 4.45 Bittern (treble), 5.15 Mysterial.

HAYDOCK: 6.50 Nellies Quest, 7.20 Newera, 7.50 Newton’s Law, 8.20 Carlovian, 8.50 Fast Charlie, 9.20 Lucky Henry.

UTTOXETER: 6.10 Ventura Castle, 6.40 One For Hocky, 7.10 Modeligo, 7.40 High Ron, 8.10 Heading To First, 8.40 Caspian Piper, 9.10 Tullow Tonic.

WORCESTER: 2.10 Fuzzy Logic, 2.40 Fast Exit, 3.15 Shady Lane, 3.50 Amirr, 4.20 Angus Glens, 4.55 Another Bygones, 5.25 Penzflo.