With racing wiped out during the latest big freeze should we bring back jumps on the all-weather? | The Sun

HOW have you been keeping yourself busy over the last couple of weeks?

With little to no meaningful racing on these shores for a fortnight, I’ve mainly spent my time rearranging my sock drawer and bingeing on Homes Under The Hammer.

Who knew Dion Dublin would take to the property development game like a duck to water.

I was especially gutted when Jack Frost claimed the prize scalp of Lingfield’s Winter Million meeting.

The Flat card was the only one of the three scheduled days that went ahead and it got me thinking – should we give all-weather jumps racing another bash?

No doubt there will be plenty of snobs out there who turn their nose up at the idea, but I think it’s one that has legs.


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When all-weather tracks were first launched in this country in the late 80’s and early 90’s, jumping on the sand was pretty common.

Problem was, surfaces in those days were not as safe as they are now.

They were pretty firm and unforgiving, and after a spike in horse and jockey injuries racing’s top brass decided to knock the experiment on the head in 1994.

But what say you, racing chiefs? Reckon it’s time we dusted off the portable hurdles and gave it a whirl?

These days, there’s not a jumps trainer worth their salt who doesn’t school their horses on some sort of artificial surface.

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The Polytrack and Tapeta tracks in this country are super-safe and you can make them as fast or as slow as you like. 

I bet there are plenty of stables who would rather run their horses over obstacles on the all-weather than have them stood in a box twiddling their hooves.

Though several powerful nutjobs around the world would have you think otherwise, climate change is very real and it affects racing as much as any sport, if not more so.

A blend of face-melting temperatures in the summer, soaking wet winters and sharp cold snaps has made life a misery for tracks up and down the country.

The future is very uncertain, but by staging jumps on the brown stuff you can near-enough guarantee (barring heavy snow and the like) that the show will go on when the turf is unraceable.

Racing could do without blank days when it's competing for eyeballs and bums on seats with other sports and leisure activities.

I for one think it would be good fun if we had some jumping on the sand to watch on the box during these long, harsh winters.

This isn’t totally pie in the sky stuff – in 2009 the BHA were open to the idea of bringing all-weather jumping back.

It came off the back of a brutally cold winter in 2008 when dozens of meetings were lost to snow and frost.

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A spokesman at the time said that all-weather racing would ‘undoubtedly’ have a part to play in jumps racing’s future, given our changing climate. Come on, let's have it.

Right, back to that sock drawer…


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