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Southwell given planning permission to change its surface to Tapeta

Southwell's Fibresand surface is set to be replaced in August
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Thursday’s fixture at Southwell will be the track's penultimate one staged on Fibresand after its owner, Arena Racing Company (Arc), received planning permission to replace the all-weather surface with Tapeta.

Permission for the change of surface was granted by the local council on Tuesday night with work set to begin following the course’s ladies’ day meeting on Sunday, August 15, which will be the last run on the unique Fibresand surface.

Subject to trials being run on the Tapeta track, which Arc has installed at Wolverhampton and Newcastle, and inspection by the BHA, Arc said it was aiming to run its first fixture on the new surface on November 26.

Mark Spincer, managing director of Arc’s racing division, said: “We are delighted to have received approval to embark with the project.

"As we have stated previously, we have been hugely impressed with Tapeta since its installation at both Wolverhampton and Newcastle and I believe this is a real step forward for racing at Southwell.

“While we had hoped to get work under way over the summer, the Covid pandemic has caused a number of delays in the procurement process of the new surface. We look forward to work getting under way in August.”

Arc added that due to the work on the all-weather course, no jump racing would be able to take place until October 28. Two jumps meetings scheduled for September have been relocated, according to an Arc spokesman.

There was a mixed response to the proposed move to Tapeta from trainers in December, with Mark Johnston and John Gosden among those in favour, while last year's leading trainer at the track, Mick Appleby, felt a dirt track would have been a better option.

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We are delighted to have received approval to embark with the project

Key data

Southwell (A.W)
E.W. Terms