Industry loses pounds 50m turnover

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The British Horseracing Board yesterday defended the lack of all- weather fixtures this week as the industry counted the cost of the first wipe-out of the Boxing Day programme for 33 years. Betting turnover nationwide would have been around pounds 50m.

Apart from Wolverhampton's evening meeting on Saturday, there are no all-weather fixtures planned this week.

"All-weather was designed for this sort of thing," William Hill's spokesman, David Hood, said. "We would like to have seen some contingency plans made."

Paul Greeves, BHB racing director, admitted the loss of the cards had been "a minor disaster". But he claimed it would not have made financial sense to have had a blanket all-weather programme in December. "It costs about pounds 40,000 to stage an all-weather fixture and you can't be certain of getting all that back in Levy. We took the view that the worst of the weather is usually between January and March and that's when we have the blanket all-weather programme.

"If we'd put on all-weather fixtures in Christmas week, who's to say the bad spell wouldn't have come the week before?"