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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Views of trainers and jockeys sought over possible Southwell surface switch

Southwell: all-weather racing has been taking place at the Nottinghamshire track since 1989
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All-weather racing may be set for further change with Arena Racing Company seeking the views of trainers and jockeys in advance of deciding whether to change the Fibresand surface at Southwell.

The Daily Mirror on Saturday claimed the track would replace the Fibresand surface with Tapeta next year, but Arc insists no decision will be made until the views of industry professionals have been gathered.

Susannah Gill, director of external affairs at ARC, said: "With regards the racing surface, no final decision has been made. Tapeta has proved a success at Wolverhampton and Newcastle while Fibresand has its fans and suits some horses very well.  

"We would welcome feedback from trainers and jockeys as part of the decision-making process."

The dual-purpose track is set to become the fifth course in Britain to race under lights next year after committee members of Newark and Sherwood District Council voted in favour of the proposals to erect floodlights in November.

The plans include to light the entire circuit of just over a mile and a quarter and the five-furlong chute with the addition of 54 floodlight pylons in July.

Gill added: "Now Southwell has been granted planning permission to construct floodlights we will pick up the conversation with the BHA about fixtures.

"Subject to future fixture allocation, the current intention is for construction to begin this year in time for racing under floodlights to start at Southwell in 2019."

Racing at Southwell will continue during the installation of floodlights, with course officials anticipating building work taking around 14 weeks to complete.

The all-weather Flat track was opened at Southwell in 1989 and is the only Fibresand course in Britain. Arc sister tracks Newcastle and Wolverhampton race on a Tapeta surface, while all-weather racing at Kempton, Lingfield and Chelmsford takes place on Polytrack.

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Tapeta has proved a success at Wolverhampton and Newcastle while Fibresand has its fans and suits some horses very well
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