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Volume 7 No. 149
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City Racing To Stage Center-City Events To Attract Younger Fans

A "new form of racing designed to attract younger fans" is set to start in major cities around the world next year, according to Mark Souster of the LONDON TIMES. City Racing plans to stage events in streets in "iconic venues" such as London, Melbourne, Las Vegas, Paris and Cape Town. The concept was rolled out on Wednesday "on a stretch of the old motor racing circuit at Aintree and deemed a success by jockeys who took part in three demonstration races," each with eight runners, over three furlongs run at half pace. The races were held on a "specially laid artificial surface which can be installed and removed within 72 hours" to keep city-center disruption to a minimum. Jockey Sean Levey said, "The surface rides unbelievably well. It's a great idea. It's all about widening the audience and bringing racing to the people." The surface consists of 3,000 tons of a wax, sand and fibre mix, to a depth of 15cm, "not dissimilar to that used on all-weather tracks in Britain." Below that is a membrane which sits on a plastic base which can withstand pressure equivalent to 70 tons per square meter. Called Equaflow, it was used for equine events in Greenwich at London 2012. The Jockey Club is also a partner in the venture, which has "raised substantial investment." City Racing CEO Peter Philips, the Queen's grandson, said, "We're taking racing out of its comfort zone and we have to reassure owners, trainers and jockeys that we're doing it properly. This is by no means the finished product." Jockey Club CEO Paul Fisher said, "I got the concept straight away and it could take racing to a whole new audience, and that's my job. I'm a keen cricket fan and this could be racing's Twenty20. It could take it to a whole new audience around the world" (LONDON TIMES, 11/29).