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Flood-free Southwell Racecourse eyes a bright future under lights

Racing on Southwell's turf track at its annual Farmers' Day meeting last year. (PHOTO BY: Rachel Atkins)
Racing on Southwell's turf track at its annual Farmers' Day meeting last year. (PHOTO BY: Rachel Atkins)

The going is very good at Southwell Racecourse, where officials are predicting a bright future in 2018 and beyond.

The reason is not only the go-ahead the track has won to install floodlights and extend its racing programme with evening meetings.

Popular Southwell has also pumped investment amounting to seven figures into its flood defences after twice being forced to close in recent years because of flooding. And the course has started talks about laying a new all-weather surface, which could improve the quality of Flat racing there.

“Now that we have protected our racing surface and buildings with the flood alleviation scheme, we can look to the future,” said executive director Mark Clayton.

“In 2018, we will have 53 fixtures, but the aim is to increase the number to that of about six years ago when we were in the mid-70s. We believe the best way to do that is to have floodlights and change our surface in what will be a project costing £7-8 million.

“We want to confirm our position as one of the leading leisure venues in Nottinghamshire, and are looking ahead to future investment that should enable us to make giant steps forward and bring economic benefits to the district.”

Southwell hopes to have 54 floodlight pylons installed, and new fixtures allocated by the racing authorities, before January 2019. Its current Fibresand track, which runs alongside a turf course used for Jumps racing, will either be refreshed or switched to another synthetic surface, Polytrack or Tapeta.