De Sousa fears over safety at Newcastle

Silvestre de Sousa: “when you cross the line you go straight into the dark”

PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos) De Sousa fears for
safety at Newcastle By David Milnes 8:19PM 4 OCT 2016

CHAMPION jockey Silvestre de Sousa has warned the lack of floodlighting beyond the winning post on Newcastle’s new all-weather track is a potential hazard and could be dangerous if a rider is unshipped.

De Sousa – who on Tuesday conceded defeat in his attempt to retain his title – has ridden winners at both meetings staged under lights at the Arena Racing Company-owned course since it relaunched in May following the completion of a £12 million redevelopment programme.

A feature of the new Tapeta track is a floodlit straight mile but the illumination does not extend into the back straight which runners head towards to pull up after crossing the line.

Original plans to floodlight the whole circuit met with objections from residents with homes neighbouring the back straight.

De Sousa said: “The floodlit mile is fine, it’s just that when you cross the line you go straight into the dark, which isn’t safe for horses or jockeys.

“You could easily see someone get unshipped in that area and have loose horses in the dark which is dangerous. I’m not saying light it all up but they could have spent some money on a couple more pylons after the line as at the moment it is a hazard.”

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