Three in running for United tracks

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The Independent Online
THE FIELD bidding for control of United Racecourses, the Levy Board subsidiary that owns the Epsom, Sandown and Kempton tracks, has been whittled down to three, writes John Shepherd.

Six other contenders have been weeded out by Lazards, the merchant bank looking after the sale. The deadline for formal bids from the remainder had to be in by yesterday. A winner should be declared by the end of the month.

While the size of the bids is being kept secret, there has been speculation that the courses - three of the biggest in the country - could fetch up to pounds 30m.

Stan Clarke, who owns Uttoxeter racecourse, confirmed he was one of the runners but declined to say how much he had bid to buy the three tracks. He said: 'I would make a good job of it and want to do it. I can't say any more.'

His opposition is Racecourse Holdings Trust, owned by the Jockey Club, and Sunset and Vine, the television company that produces racing programmes for Channel 4.

Racecourse Holdings is already the largest owner in the UK, with six tracks.

Two hurdles have been placed in the way of prospective bidders: racing has to continue at the courses, and the land cannot be used for property development.