By Simon Jackson.
Arena Racing Company (ARC) has added a three-year-old sprint category to the second All-Weather Championships that start at Lingfield Park next week.
The new event boosts the number of championship races to seven, joining the three-year-old (1600m), sprint, mile, marathon, fillies & mares and middle distance races.
The news comes ahead of Lingfield’s plans to celebrate a quarter of a century of racing on a synthetic surface next week; having created history on October 30, 1989 when they staged the first all-weather meeting in the UK.
Lingfield will recognise the 25th anniversary next Thursday when they stage a seven-race card that also launches the All-Weather Championships series, which start and finish at Lingfield – commencing on October 30 and culminating on Good Friday, April 3, 2015.
“The creation of the new three-year-old sprint category arose out of consultation with horsemen and the BHA,” said Jim Allen, director of racing at ARC who own 15 racecourses including Lingfield where almost 9,000 people were on hand to witness the outcome of the six championship races on Finals Day on Good Friday this year.
“We hope its inclusion will further support the sprint programme in Great Britain and give horses more opportunities to race throughout the winter months,” he continued.
“Last year’s Championship winners have continued to prove themselves, on both synthetic and turf surfaces, here in Great Britain and abroad.
“We look forward to crowning more champions when the action gets underway on October 30 at Lingfield Park.”
ARC’s managing director, Tony Kelly, added: “We are out to prove that All-Weather Racing can be as competitive, compelling and attractive as racing on turf in the UK.
“Last season proved that quality horses will run if the race programme is sufficiently attractive and we fully expect to see that trend continue this year. Over time, we hope to raise the profile of this part of our sport for all its participants.”
ARC announced in September that the £1million All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park next April will be shown live on Channel 4.
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