Racing: Sunday pursuit

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The Independent Online
HEARTENED by favourable noises emanating from Westminster, the Jockey Club is to keep up its campaign for Sunday racing with betting. Yesterday it announced that a third Sunday meeting will be staged without cash betting 'in the second half of 1993', following successful experimental cards at Doncaster and Cheltenham last year.

The Jockey Club had suspended its campaign after recognising that no progress could be made on the reform of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act (which prevents cash gambling on the Sabbath) until new Sunday trading rules had been established which would allow off- course betting shops to open.

But the Sunday Trading Bill is now scheduled to come before Parliament in November and the Home Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, intimated to the All-Party Parliamentary Racing Committee last week that legislation reforming betting laws could be in motion soon after.

The reaction of that committee's chairman, Jim Paice MP, was the amendments required could be in place 'within a couple of years.'

'The Stewards decided that it was very important to keep up the pressure after the successes at Doncaster and Cheltenham,' a bulletin from the Club's Portman Square headquarters said.

Having had one Sunday Flat fixture in the North and a jumping card in the South - which Sunday track repairs made totally inaccessible by rail - the Jockey Club must now decide where to stage this third showcase meeting. All racecourses will now be asked if they are interested and a shortlist considered at the Stewards' meeting on 8 March.