Kempton Park – the end of an era?
Following the news that Kempton Park could close for business, Press Association Sport assesses the relevant details.
Kempton Park could be closed by 2021
Q) What, in a nutshell, is actually going on with Kempton Park, then?
A) The famous old racecourse could be bulldozed to the ground to address unmet local housing needs in the area – subject to planning approval.
Q) When might Kempton shut down, then?
A) Its owners say by 2021 "at the earliest".
Q) So would that mean that the home of the King George VI Chase will be no more?
A) Alas, yes. The days of Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star essentially consigned to a nostalgic footnote in racing history.
Q) Why are its owners, the Jockey Club, doing this?
A) For the "long-term good of British racing", apparently. It's seemingly all part of a 10-year plan to pump half a billion pounds into the great game.
Q) And what about the King George and all the other great National Hunt races at Kempton?
A) The Jockey Club will consult with the British Horseracing Authority and look divvy them up at its other courses across the UK, but sister track Sandown Park, which is six miles away from Kempton, would be the chief beneficiary and the chosen port of call for the King George.
Q) Kempton also has an all-weather track. Won't that leave a big void on the Flat front?
A) Not necessarily. The Jockey Club has outlined plans for a new floodlit all-weather racecourse to replace Kempton.
Q) Where would that be, then?
A) Newmarket is currently the front-running destination, which tends to make sense as it is the self-styled home of Flat racing in the land.
Q) This is big news, but what are the potential benefits for horseracing from all this?
A) The Jockey Club reckons there will be loads, such as increases in prize-money, a transformation to Sandown Park and "a series of enhancements" across all of its racecourses
Q) How has the news been received by racing folk?
A) Not great, judged by early social media reaction, though the feeling from Newmarket is understandably a little more upbeat.You can send us your thoughts on the news by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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