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Course will not bid for fixtures next year but committed to project

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Catterick has ruled out bidding for all-weather fixtures next year but remains keen to emulate Newcastle and tear up its turf Flat course - and is set to make a token start on the project.

The track has been planning a switch to the all-weather for more than four years and has had planning permission to make the transformation for over a year.

Director James Sanderson, who stressed that jumping is safe at Catterick, said the course will not be applying for extra meetings in 2018.

But he said: "We are going to secure the planning permission, we need to make a visible start to the project. We'll probably do something very simple, like put some bases in for floodlights, which will get a tick in the box with the local authority."

The financial viability of the project, which would involve a £10million investment, hinges on receiving sufficient fixtures.

"There is a root and branch review of the fixture list going on and we will continue our dialogue with the BHA," Sanderson said. "The question is can we see some security in being to obtain sufficient fixtures to have the critical mass that would justify the investment?

"Given the media rights deals that we have got in place, if we could see the fixtures we don't think we would have a problem funding it."

The future of all-weather racing in Britain looks set for change, with Jockey Club Racecourses set to close Kempton and open a new track in Newmarket.   

But Sanderson said: "That doesn't change things for us. We'd be marketing ourselves as an all-weather track in the north, pitching ourselves at Malton and Middleham primarily, and I can see there would be room for Newmarket and Catterick."

Given the media rights deals that we have got in place, if we could see the fixtures we don't think we would have a problem funding it

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