Nowadays, so-called all-weather racing – that is, horse racing on synthetic surfaces – is an everyday occurrence in Britain. However, younger more online geered readers clambering to play best online slots, may not realise that just over three decades ago racecourses such as Kempton, Lingfield, Newcastle, Southwell, and Wolverhampton raced exclusively on turf and Chelmsford City did not even exist.
All-weather racing in Britain was first mooted following the very cold, snowy winter of 1984/85, which led to the abandonment of dozens of National Hunt fixtures. However, it was not until four or five years later that first Lingfield, and then Southwell, were granted permission to install synthetic surfaces. Lingfield opted for Equitrack – graded sand particles encapsulated in a mixture of oil and polymers – on the inside of the existing turf track, while Southwell opted for Fibresand – a deeper, slower surface, composed of sand particles and polypropylene fibres – on the outside.
Lingfield staged its first all-weather fixture on October 30, 1989 and was followed by Southwell, just nine days later. Four years later, in 1993, Wolverhampton went a stage further by completely replacing its turf course with Fibresand. Two years later still, in 1995, Dunstall Park was also the venue for the first Listed race run on a synthetic surface in Britain, the Wulfrun Stakes.
The twenty-first century brought many changes to the all-weather landscape, much in the same way that kiwicasinos casino online changed the casino landscape. In 2001, Lingfield switched to Polytrack – a more advanced, wax-coated mixture of sand, recycled synthetic fibres and recycled rubber – and, in 2004, Wolverhampton followed suit. The first Pattern race run on the all-weather, the Group Three Silver Trophy Stakes, was staged at Lingfield in the summer of 2005. The following spring, Kempton joined the all-weather roster and would be joined, albeit briefly, by the ill-fated Great Leighs – which would be resurrected, as Chelmsford City, seven years later – in 2008.
The inaugural All-Weather Championships, culminating in All-Weather Championships Finals Day, worth £1 million in prize money, at Lingfield on Good Friday commenced in October, 2013, and continues to go from strength to strength. In 2014, Wolverhampton switched again, to Tapeta – effectively an advanced, more forgiving version of Polytrack – and, in 2016, Newcastle also hosted its first fixture on a new Tapeta track.