A new all-weather racetrack is being planned for Newmarket.
Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR), which owns Newmarket’s two racecourses, said the new course, if it goes ahead, will replace the current all-weather facilities at Kempton Park.
The south-west London course, which is the home of the Boxing Day showpiece, the King George VI Chase, will be bulldozed for housing.
JCR plans announced today, envisage a total investment of half a billion pounds in its racecourses over the next 10 years, underpinned by the sale of Kempton Park for redevelopment with up to 3,000 houses. Racing at Kempton is expected to continue until at least 2021, during which time a new all-weather track at Newmarket will be built to take over Kempton’s extensive programme of all-weather racing.
The scheme to close Kempton in order to invest the money elsewhere in the JCR portfolio of tracks is certain to prove hugely controversial among racing fans, who cherish the sport’s heritage and the variety of racecourses that Britain can offer.
A planning application is being prepared to create a new floodlit all-weather course at Newmarket, the Home of Racing, purpose-built for horsemen on its land at The Links.
Jockey Club senior steward Roger Weatherby said: “A new purpose-built all-weather course on The Links at Newmarket to replace that at Kempton Park would be ideal for the thousands of horses trained at the home of racing and beyond, as well as shortening the working day for racing’s people there.”