Racing: Racing weathers winter's chill

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The Independent Online
It's just a dirt track to some but pay dirt for many. The artificial surface at Lingfield racecourse is not regarded with any affection by those who cherish the traditions of racing on turf but it provides an essential form of income for the less-celebrated trainers and jockeys who operate on the winter, all-weather circuit. Importantly, too, it ensures that for punters in betting shops across the country there is no danger that their cash will rest uncomfortably in their pockets when the weather bites at racing on turf. Several times this winter the all-weather circuits of Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton have had the stage to themselves and one of Lingfield's meetings this month managed to make its way on to Channel 4 television. While crowds are often sparse there are other cash incentives for staging all-weather racing and the latest course to make plans for such a track is Newcastle.

- John Cobb