Racing: Fine forecast for all-weather

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The Independent Online
THE JOCKEY CLUB has decided that racing on artificial surfaces is a success. After three seasons, racing's rulers announced yesterday that 'all-weather track racing should no longer be regarded as experimental.'

The benefit to racing's coffers has certainly contributed to the high regard in which all-weather racing is held by the Jockey Club. There was a net gain of pounds 1m for the Levy Board last year from this branch of the sport and the board are keen to extend their support of fixtures on Lingfield's Equitrack and Southwell's Fibresand.

The Jockey Club envisage that all-weather racing will be 'an important element if and when evening opening of betting shops is introduced'. The crucial factor is that it would be more practical to introduce floodlighting, which would allow evening racing in winter, at tracks that can be used continuously.

Racing's ruling body are also considering experimenting with stand-by all-weather fixtures which could take place at short notice when there is prolonged cancellation of turf fixtures. They will increase the ratio of Flat to National Hunt fixtures from one to one to two to one and institute some more valuable events.