Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is pleased to announce that the four remaining jumps fixtures in Newcastle Racecourse’s 2015 race programme can remain at the track during the £11 million investment works which will see Gosforth Park transformed with the introduction of a new all weather track, alongside the existing turf jump track and improvements to Newcastle Racecourse’s facilities.
Final confirmation of the construction timetable for the all weather track means that the most disruptive works will have been completed by the start of November meaning the four remaining jumps fixtures (on 13 and 28 November and 10 and 19 December) can remain at Newcastle Racecourse ensuring continuity for horsemen and racegoers. This includes the Grade 1 £105,000 StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the £60,000 At The Races Rehearsal Chase which will take place on Saturday 28 November.
Throughout the development of the plans for the works at Newcastle Racecourse ARC has worked closely with the British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”). BHA Chief Course Inspector, Richard Linley, who has confirmed the viability of the plans to continue racing during the works on the basis there will be no adverse impact on horse and jockey safety. This is in line with the approach taken by Lingfield Park which continued racing when the all weather track was built.
ARC is delighted to once again be working with Stobart Group, who will undertake the construction work, and Tapeta Footings who will lay the new Tapeta surface. This continues a partnership established with the successful installation of a new Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton Racecourse last year which has been widely praised within the industry as being fair and safe.
ARC Racing and Property Director, Stephen Higgins said: “ARC is pleased that despite the ambitious scale of the investment being undertaken at Newcastle Racecourse the 2015 jumps programme does not have to be disrupted. By the time racing commences in November the new Tapeta track will be laid on the outside of the turf jumps track ensuring horses and jockeys can race on the turf as they will continue to do so once the whole project is completed. We would like to thank all the parties we are working with on this project, especially the BHA, the Stobart Group and Tapeta Footings, for their ongoing input which is invaluable in ensuring the project’s overall success.
Newcastle Racecourse Executive Director, David Williamson said: “The team at Newcastle are delighted to be able to continue jump racing during 2015. We particular look forward to working with long-term sponsors StanJames.com on ensuring another fantastic Grade 1 £105,000 StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle on 28 November. It’s a very exciting time for Newcastle Racecourse which with ARC’s significant investment has a bright future.”
Paul Johnson, Head of Racing for the BHA, said: “Our racecourse inspectorate are satisfied that the proposed timetable of works as laid out by ARC, if delivered to schedule, will mean it is safe and viable to continue jump racing at Newcastle for the remainder of the year. These plans include not only the work being carried out on the track but horse-related racecourse improvements to the saddling boxes, pre-parade ring and stable yard facilities.”
Stobart Group Chief Executive, Andrew Tinkler said: “As a significant sponsor in British Racing, most notably of the Professional Jockeys Association’s Career Ending Insurance Scheme and the Flat Jockeys’ Championships, Stobart Group is delighted to continue its relationship with ARC having been selected as preferred supplier to work on the exciting plans at Newcastle Racecourse. Our Infrastructure division is confident of providing the best and most cost efficient all-weather track solution for Newcastle Racecourse and I know the team is looking forward to getting the works underway in the autumn.”
Co-owner and Managing Director of Tapeta Footings, Joan Wakefield said: “Having installed the first Tapeta racing surface in Europe at Wolverhampton Racecourse last year, which has proved fair and safe, Tapeta Footings is pleased to be installing a second racing surface at Newcastle Racecourse. Given the size and makeup of the track at Newcastle I believe it will be one of the best all weather racecourses in the world. The installation of the Tapeta alongside the jumps turf track will also improve the drainage of the Gosforth Park turf having all year round benefits for both racing surfaces. ”
StanJames.com Chief Executive Denis Kelly, said: “Our longstanding sponsorship of the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth hurdle is one of our key sponsorships in British Racing. It is a great race in itself and importantly, a key step on the ’Road to the Cheltenham’ and has been for so many horses over the years. We are looking forward to the 2015 running of the race and our continuing partnership with Newcastle Racecourse.”
At The Races Chief Executive Matt Imi said: “This will be At The Races sixth year of sponsoring the At The Races Rehearsal Chase. We’re delighted to support such a valuable chase as part of the northern jumps programme and look forward to continue to show every race from Newcastle Racecourse live on At The Races.”
The two flat fixtures scheduled to take place at Newcastle Racecourse in October will no longer do so. A fixture on 1 October will now take place at Beverley Racecourse and a fixture on 13 October will take place at Musselburgh Racecourse. ARC Annual Members will receive complimentary entry to both fixtures as they would if they had been run at Newcastle Racecourse.
Jump racing will commence in 2016 at Newcastle Racecourse on Thursday 7 January.