The countdown is on to the All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park Resort, which takes place on Good Friday April 18, when £1m prize money will be on offer.
It is a far cry from the early days of all-weather racing, more than 20 years ago, when prize money was notoriously poor. The first All-Weather fixture was staged at Lingfield Park on October 30 1989, following lengthy discussions about many racing fixtures being lost to bad weather, and the associated adverse financial impact on racing.
Two artificial tracks were created, the Equitrack at Lingfield Park and a Fibresand track at Southwell, opening within nine days of each other. Kempton Park was developed later in 2006 and remains the only right-handed All-Weather track.
Lingfield Park Resort is proud to be part of the new All-Weather Championships featuring six categories of races run across all of the Arena Racing Company All-Weather tracks Wolverhampton, Southwell and Lingfield Park, and also Kempton Park owned by The Jockey Club.
The season, which runs from October to April, is almost at the half-way point and will climax with the richest All-Weather raceday in Europe to take place on Finals Day at Lingfield Park on 18 April 2014 – with £1million in prize money on offer, this is a race meeting not to be missed.
The concept of the All Weather Championships has raised the profile of winter flat racing on these surfaces and the added prize money has encouraged top trainers to take part with better horses.
The current top ten jockeys in the championship table, which runs from October 26 until April 4 are: Martin Harley, Adam Kirby, Luke Morris, Silvestre De Sousa, Graham Lee, Liam Jones, Sean Levey, Andtrea Atzeni, George Baker and Jim Crowley.
Meanwhile Catterick Racecourse is bidding to have all-weather surface at its North Yorkshire track. It wants to replace the turf Flat course with a floodlit artifical surface, but to keep the jumps course. Officials have been working on the project for two years, but fruition of the plans are still a long way off.