Fontwell change won’t send jockeys round the bend

Fontwell will benefit from an all-weather section of the track / Picture by Clive Bennett
Fontwell will benefit from an all-weather section of the track / Picture by Clive Bennett
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Fontwell Park’s owners have revealed plans for a new cambered all-weather bend at the racecourse.

Plans have been submitted by Arena Racing Company for the installation of the all-weather section, around 330 metres in length, on the bottom bend at Fontwell Park. It is known as a flat and wide bend, with a reverse camber which is particularly pronounced in the south west corner.

Having listened to feedback from trainers and jockeys as well as assessing other options, we consider that the installation of a cambered all-weather bend at Fontwell Park will offer a significant improvement to the track.

Ed Arkell

Because of the unique configuration of the track, horses race anti-clockwise around the outside in hurdle races and clockwise around the inside on a split bend in steeplechases. At the height of the summer, both hurdle and steeplechase races are run on a common bend.

The introduction of a cambered all-weather section would upgrade the track and provide a consistent surface around the ideal racing line. Similar projects have been undertaken at other racecourses including Kempton Park and Musselburgh.

It is hoped the installation will take place during Fontwell’s summer break in 2017. It would take around six weeks.

Before the installation, ongoing work will be carried out with the aid of agronomists, Professional Sports Turf Design and MK Surveys to ensure the best possible racing surface.

Fontwell clerk of the course Ed Arkell said: “Having listened to feedback from trainers and jockeys as well as assessing other options, we consider that the installation of a cambered all-weather bend at Fontwell Park will offer a significant improvement to the track.

“We look forward to working with the local authority and other stakeholders to make sure we can implement these plans and offer consistency of the surface around the racing line of that particular bend.”

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