Racing under the floodlights needs a big city nearby

Racing under the floodlights needs a big city nearby

AN EVENING win on Equally Fast under floodlights at Wolverhampton on Saturday got me thinking about a racing issue in the news.

Last week the BHA refused to grant Newcastle Racetrack an exemption which would have allowed it to host night races on an all-weather track.

The move would have seen the turf replaced with a Tapeta surface, which was by coincidence introduced at Wolverhampton last month. It seems the BHA has put its foot down. I think it’s good for the sport.

My first thought when heard that Newcastle’s owners, Arena Racing Company (ARC), planned to rip up the turf was one of horror because it’s a lovely galloping track.

It’s a fair track and both flat and jump trainers aren’t afraid to bring horses up there.

ARC is a very well-run business - from the shareholders’ point of view anyway. At times it feels like they’re bleeding racing dry a bit.

Prize money has been down since they’ve taken the reins of a dozen or so trnacks they bought off the BHA.

In my view, they seem to not want to work with the BHA; they say what they want. And they get it a lot.

Racing seems to change so fast these days. It’s true that there aren’t any all-weather tracks with floodlights in the north of the country. The south has Lingfield and Kempton Park, while Wolverhampton and Southwell are in the Midlands.

However, trainers and the BHA agree Catterick would be a very good pick for an all-weather track.

The only problem is, from a business point of view like ALC’s, you’re not really based near a big city. And that won’t draw the stag and hen dos and the younger crowd who want to go on to a nightclub after the racing.

From a jockey’s point of view, preparations are obviously affected by late meetings. It can have a knock on effect on the rest of your week.

Say you’re up at 5am. You’ll ride out and might get done by 11am. You’ll then jump in a car for three or four hours and ride until 8 or nine o’clock at night. So you might not get home until 1am and the you have to do it all again at 5am.

I suppose the flip side is that, occasionally, you get a chance to do a few chores the next morning like visiting the bank or shops or even getting your hair cut. Or spend some time with the family.

It’s me and my beloved wife’s fourth wedding anniversary on Thursday. I didn’t think she’d stick with me this long!

Work being work, I’m still not sure where I’ll be later in the week so it’s hard to plan anything special at this stage.

Watch this space.