By Simon Jackson.
Lingfield Park is gearing-up for the second All-Weather Championships series as they prepare to celebrate a quarter of a century of racing on a synthetic surface this month.
Lingfield created history on October 30, 1989 when they staged the first all-weather meeting in the UK and are set to recognise the milestone with a seven race card on the 25th anniversary of that notable first meeting.
The Surrey track, one of 15 racecourses owned by Arena Racing Company (ARC), was more recently widely applauded for the inaugural All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday this year.
Finals day created history when horse racing was staged for the first time in Britain on a Good Friday; where almost 9,000 people were on hand at Lingfield to witness the outcome of six championship races from the competition that ran from October 2013 to April 2014.
ARC has since announced that the £1million All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park next April will be shown live on Channel 4.
Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4’s commissioning editor for sport, said: “After the success of last year’s launch, we are delighted to bring the 2015 All-Weather Championships Finals Day for the first time to terrestrial viewers. Our final 2015 broadcast schedule will be announced in due course.”
ARC’s managing director, Tony Kelly, added: “ARC and Channel 4 enjoy working together to help showcase British racing.
“The ARC team is absolutely delighted Channel 4 will be showing the All-Weather Championships £1 million Finals Day next year. After only their first year the All-Weather Championships are already making a positive impact on raising the profile and prestige of all-weather racing in Great Britain.
“We would particularly like to thank our sponsors who showed belief in the initiative from the outset.
“We are eager to get started on Year Two and look forward to both Channel 4 and At The Races continuing to do a fantastic job of showcasing racing across ARC’s racecourses as we seek to promote and grow British racing in the years ahead.”
Meanwhile Lingfield Park’s managing director, Andrew Perkins, admits that he is already looking forward to the next series.
“The first year of the All-Weather Championships saw a crowd of nearly 9,000 pack out Lingfield Park,” Perkins said. “We enjoyed wonderful spring-time weather this year which as we know in Great Britain cannot be depended upon, but with top-class racing and lots of other attractions for racegoers of all ages the team at Lingfield Park are already looking forward to a wonderful 2015 All-Weather Championships Finals Day.”
Finals Day comprises contests for three-year-olds, fillies and mares, a marathon, sprint, mile and a middle distance race.