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SBD Global/January 12, 2017/Facilities

Former Jockey Anthony McCoy Leads Backlash Against Plan To Bulldoze Kempton

Plans to bulldoze Kempton Park have irked many jockeys.
Former jockey Anthony McCoy "has led criticism of the controversial plan" to sell Kempton Park for housing and to switch the King George VI Chase to Sandown Park within five years, according to Mark Souster of the LONDON TIMES. McCoy, the 20-time champion jump jockey, said that the Jockey Club’s proposal, announced Tuesday as part of a £500M ($610M) investment in racing over the next 10 years, "could have safety ramifications and that Sandown might not be able to cope with the extra fixtures because of overuse and drainage problems." McCoy: "There will be a lot of people who will be disappointed. It is terrible we will be losing a grade one jumps track and we can’t afford that." The Jockey Club "is adamant" that the plan to bulldoze Kempton, with its "evocative memories" of the deeds of Arkle, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star, to make way for up to 3,000 homes, "will help to generate the significant extra sums it feels are required over the next decade" to invest in its 14 other courses, including Sandown. Jockey Club Group CEO Simon Bazalgette said, "It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We want to realize the huge potential we see at Sandown. We need to transform its facilities and take it to the next level, including increasing its capacity and pushing for attendance growth" (LONDON TIMES, 1/11).
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