Racing: Swift response to racecourse sell-off

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THE PROPERTY market in London's south-western suburbs was revived yesterday when the Levy Board announced that its three racecourses, Epsom, Sandown and Kempton, are for sale, writes Greg Wood.

In a nostalgic echo of the mid-1980s, the details of the sale were barely in the agent's window before the first interested party emerged. The Racecourse Holdings Trust, a Jockey Club subsidiary which already owns 10 courses including Newmarket, Aintree and Cheltenham, will bid for the three tracks, and according to its managing director, David Hillyard, is the safest guarantor of their racing future. A buyout by the tracks' management is another possibility, while the Racehorse Owners Association is also though to be interested.

The asking price for the courses, which the Board owns through its subsidiary, United Racecourses, is thought to be about pounds 30m.

Nick Cheyne, clerk of the course at Sandown, is to succeed Nicholas Beaumont as clerk of the course and assistant racecourse director at Ascot.