The British Horseracing Board, working with the Jockey Club and following extensive discussions with Arena Leisure, has decided that flat fixtures at Lingfield Park will continue through the winter period, but only on the condition that special contingency arrangements will operate for their Saturday fixtures programmed to take place each Saturday, from February 3rd to March 3rd inclusive.
These Saturday fixtures are in place primarily to secure at least one meeting on this busiest betting day of the week should turf National Hunt fixtures be abandoned due to adverse weather conditions. (This Saturday’s fixture on January 27th will go ahead at Lingfield Park as scheduled).
Contingency arrangements will involve delaying the day of closing for Lingfield’s Saturday fixtures in this period, from the usual day of Monday to Thursday at noon. BHB with Arena Leisure will study advance weather forecasts the afternoon prior to closing (Wednesday), and BHB will then make an announcement as to whether or not the relevant Lingfield Park fixture is to go ahead. This will require a favourable weather outlook with no significant frost forecast. Should the forecast be unfavourable then the Saturday all weather fixture will instead take place at Southwell. In this way, trainers and owners will know with certainty at closing which venue will be operating.
BHB’s Racing Department will issue details to trainers tomorrow, Friday 26th January covering the first potential programme for Southwell, which could be on Saturday, February 3rd. Details of the subsequent potential Southwell fixtures will appear in next week’s Racing Calendar. They will mirror the Lingfield Park programmes as closely as possible, bearing in mind the different starts/racing distances available.
BHB and the Jockey Club are satisfied that the Executive of Arena Leisure is taking all possible steps to secure racing at Lingfield on their all weather surface, and have the safety of the horses and jockeys as their primary concern. However, it is evident that the surface is no longer able to combat severe frost. Arena Leisure has assured both the BHB and the Jockey Club that it will carry out a full programme of works to restore the surface to pristine condition as quickly as possible following completion of its winter all weather programme.
For further information please contact: Paul Greeves, Racing Director at the BHB on 020 7343 3306 or Ian Penrose, Arena Leisure, on 020 7495 2277