Trainer Mick Appleby says Southwell should become a dirt track
Leading all-weather trainer Mick Appleby has called for Southwell to have a US-style dirt track if it is relaid.
Arena Racing Company (Arc), which owns the course, is considering changing the Fibresand surface at the Nottinghamshire track.
Reports claim Tapeta is the chosen surface but Arc insists no decision will be made on the nature of the surface until the views of industry professionals have been gathered.
Appleby, who has had 99 winners at Southwell in the last five years, believes another Tapeta track would be pointless with the surface already in use at Wolverhampton and Newcastle.
He said: "They should make it a dirt course. I can't understand why we don't have one in this country when they race on dirt in America and Dubai.
"You could run Group 1 races on it and you could also use it for preparing horses for the big dirt races abroad. I hope they consider it, but if it isn't going to be dirt then I hope they put Fibresand back. But I'm not sure they will. Why do we need another Tapeta course when we already have two?"
He added: "It seems odd to me that they're putting up floodlights at Southwell and considering racing on Tapeta there. That's what they have at Wolverhampton."
Malton-based Declan Carroll is in favour of a change. "We've had plenty of luck on the present surface at Southwell but Tapeta is more horse-friendly," he said.
Conor Dore, another all-weather regular, is firmly in the 'remain' camp, saying: "They should leave it as it is. Admittedly I'm biased because I've had plenty of luck there but for me Fibresand is a much kinder surface, particularly for horses with joint problems.
"Races at Southwell tend to be truly run, whereas on Tapeta and Polytrack you get so many falsely run races run at a stop-start gallop when it pays to be on the front end. That really annoys me and I would think punters prefer truly run races where there's no pace bias and horses don't encounter traffic problems."
Worcestershire-based Mark Loughnane is another trainer who would prefer Arc to retain the status quo. He said: "For me Southwell is Southwell. Some horses hate it but others go well there and they should leave it as Fibresand."
John Quinn and David Simcock are among the undecided.
Quinn said: "I like Tapeta but Southwell's Fibresand serves its purpose, so I'm sitting on the fence."
Simcock considers Southwell and Newcastle as fair courses and said: "I would rather Arc ran their big races on one of them rather than at Lingfield because the best horses usually win there. I'm not sure about the surface, it's probably a good thing to have a choice."
All-weather regular Derek Shaw said: "If Southwell are going to race all year round I think they should change. For me Fibresand is a winter surface, it's much more consistent when it's wet in the winter. It tends to become a bit patchy when it's dry. That doesn't mean I think they should necessarily have Tapeta as there is also Polytrack, which works well."
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