BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said today:
“It is, of course, disappointing that a project which in BHB’s view would have brought significant benefits to British Racing looks set to be lost. The Board agreed in principle in 2000 to grant fixtures to London City as it considered that, as well as offering potentially the highest investment and prize money input of all the applications considered at that time, it would have enabled a significant development of the racing product to provide floodlit evening racing outside the main summer period with the potential to attract a significant new audience and to add exciting new betting opportunities. It would also have benefited British Racing’s international competitiveness.
“We do however feel fully vindicated as the Secretary of State “accepts that the horseracing industry makes an important contribution to the increasing leisure and recreation sector of the economy, as well as to the rural economy by providing direct and indirect employment” and also “accepts and attaches weight to the unchallenged views of economic and racing expert witnesses that the racing industry needs new racing products and that the development would extend the racing product and provide new opportunities for international competition”.
“There are also other elements of the statement issued by Government yesterday which lend weight to BHB’s view that a new racecourse with qualities of the type offered by London City would be beneficial for British Racing. In particular, the Secretary of State accepts that “the preferred location for a flagship all-weather track is close to the capital in a currently unserved catchment where research shows twice the normal 5% target population are likely to use the facility”.
“It is to be hoped that the industry’s aspirations for a world-class facility like that proposed by London City will be fulfilled within a reasonable timeframe.”