Yesterday morning Newcastle Racecourse conducted trial gallops with over 40 horses working on the new tapeta all-weather track. The British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”) has approved the track fit for racing and the feedback from trainers and jockeys who took part in the trial was positive.
British Horseracing Authority Inspector of Courses, Chris Dennis said: “The trial gallop on Newcastle’s tapeta surface was completed successfully. The feedback from trainers and jockeys was positive and no issues were identified with the track. The surface is ready for the first fixture on 17 May.”
Professional Jockeys Association (“PJA”) Executive Director (Racing), Dale Gibson said: “It has taken a significant amount of work to develop the first northern based all-weather track. Many people deserve credit, including James Armstrong and his team at Newcastle Racecourse, along with the wider team at ARC, the Stobart Group and Tapeta Footings. We aim to continue to work with them to help improve the racing product under both codes in the future. We had some terrific feedback from senior jockeys who all enjoyed riding on the new tapeta track and are really looking forward to the first raceday on 17 May.”
The 188BET First All-Weather Raceday on 17 May will be a £60,000 seven race card with a feature £20,000 handicap. 188BET will sponsor six races with Tapeta Footings sponsoring the seventh race.
188BET’s Managing Director, Nigel Singer said: “We are delighted to be the official sponsor of the first all-weather fixture to take place at Newcastle Racecourse. 188BET is committed to providing a strong horseracing product for our customers and sponsoring the first ever all-weather meeting at Gosforth Park reinforces this commitment.”
In total ARC has invested nearly £12 million into Gosforth Park over the last year. As well as the construction of a tapeta all-weather track, with the first ever floodlit straight mile, there has been a number of other improvements to the equine facilities at the racecourse. These include resurfacing the pre-parade, parade ring and winner’s enclosure; refurbishment of the saddling boxes; complete modernisation of the vets’ facilities and stable yard with a new entrance to the horsebox park to improve access to the stables for horses and horseboxes; and a floodlit horse walk with new fibresand area for horses to relax and recover after racing.
In the months ahead the ARC Executive will undertake a wider review of the entire estate at Gosforth Park in order to develop a future plan for potential further investment, which amongst other things will include improved facilities for racegoers.
In 2016 Newcastle Racecourse will host 37 all-weather fixtures. In addition to the new tapeta all-weather track ARC is making a significant investment in prize money. This includes the £150,000 Northumberland Plate and a new reserve race, the Northumberland Vase, run on the same day for £75,000. A number of other races will also have increased prize funds including the £20,000 Seaton Delaval Trophy and £30,000 Gosforth Park Cup, both run during the Northumberland Plate Festival, the £25,000 Beeswing Handicap on Ladies’ Day in July which is more than doubling in value, and the £25,000 Blaydon Race two-year-old Nursery in August.
Executive Director of Newcastle Racecourse, David Williamson, said: “We are really pleased with the positive feedback received yesterday morning and are looking forward to our first all-weather raceday which marks the start of a new era for Gosforth Park. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all the trainers and jockeys who were part of the trials yesterday morning. We really appreciate their advice and the time they gave up to assist in ensuring the track meets the standard required for racing. I would also like to thank the BHA and PJA for their ongoing assistance. We look forward to welcoming everyone on 17 May for the launch of all-weather racing at Newcastle.”