Wednesday 11th January
We have declared Speed Demon at Leicester tomorrow, in the 2.40pm – the first division of the two and half mile handicap chase. Unlike most tracks at present, the ground on the chase course should be on the good side which should suit him.
He ran well on his last appearance at Kempton in similar conditions. He had a niggly injury in the autumn which has kept him off the track but we are hopeful to make up for lost time over the next few months.
There has been much debate already over the decision to close Kempton Park. It is fairly easy to see both sides of the argument. The Jockey Club is in debt by £115 million and Kempton is positioned in a rather useful area to build houses.
The Jockey Club’s plans are to move some of the fixtures to Sandown, including the King George, and have an all-weather track at Newmarket.
Sandown is a fantastic track, but when it comes to the ground there in the winter, all of National Hunt racing must pray for global warming. The beauty of Kempton is it has the best jumping ground in the country during the winter, as it is one of the few racecourses built for racehorses.
Should the plans go ahead, it will be sadly missed by the jumping fraternity. When visiting Kempton, you certainly get the impression over the last few years that this has been at the back of their mind for a while, as the facilities are mostly ‘tired.’
True racing fans find it hard to fall in love with all-weather racing, however it has it’s place. There is some sense in having an all-weather track in Newmarket as so many horses are trained there and one of the advantages is stable staff will get home a bit earlier.
However I am not the only person in racing to think that Newmarket is only the headquarters of racing due to the whim of a certain royal. To many it is a fairly soulless place, difficult to get to and lacks atmosphere (except certain parts of the July course).
As the Jockey Club look to the future, are they presuming Arab support will always be in Newmarket, as it would be interesting to see how the town developed without their investment. The debate will go on for some time I am sure.