Historic UK racecourse Kempton Park (Surrey) could be closed down by The Jockey Club as the racing group looks to secure approximately £500 million from its property in order to fund future racing projects.
Yesterday Jockey Club governance in partnership with Redrow Plc submitted planning process proposals to Spelthorne Borough Council who had recently issued a ‘call for sites’ to address local housing needs.
Issuing a corporate update, Jockey Club governance stated that potential funds raised would be used to fund programs and projects for the long term benefit of UK racing. This includes a purpose-built all-weather racecourse in Newmarket as Britain’s busiest racing training centre.
Jockey Club governance informed that racing will continue at Kempton until at least 2021, with the redevelopment only proceeding if more than £100 million is raised from the sale and the all-weather circuit should it be given the go-ahead.
Roger Weatherby, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, commented on the group plans for Kempton:
“We must show leadership with the assets we have and, where merited, take tough decisions to help our sport to keep moving forwards. The decision to submit our estate at Kempton Park for consideration in the Local Plan is unique and has not been taken lightly. Our Board of Stewards are horsemen and, having carefully considered what we can achieve in the long-run from doing so, are unanimously of the view that British Racing is better served by us doing so.
“If changes take place at Kempton Park in the future we will act to secure and invest in the Jumps programme nationally. We will work with the British Horseracing Authority to seek to run some races, including the King George VI Chase, at Sandown Park. We plan to transform Sandown Park’s facilities, utilise the latest advances in track technology and help bring a focus on it as London’s premier dual-code racecourse right on the doorstep of millions of people, unlocking what we see as its great potential.”
Kempton, which opened in 1878, has hosted the prestigious King George VI Chase since its first running in 1937. Should the proposal go ahead, Kempton’s famous King George VI fixture will be moved to Sandown, located six miles away.