Newcastle: official times led some to question the distances of races
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
NEWCASTLE has pledged to remeasure distances on its new all-weather track as soon as possible after claims some races were not run over the correct trip on its opening day.
The course staged its first all-weather fixture on Tuesday, having been closed for Flat racing since last autumn while the turf was replaced by a Tapeta surface.
The new track got a thumbs up on the day from trainers and jockeys but those analysing the races have since spotted discrepancies.
Sectional timing expert Simon Rowlands, who chairs the BHA’s Horseracing Bettors Forum, pointed out the races officially run over 6f 22y, 7f 69y and 1m 27y started very close to the six furlong, seven furlong and mile poles respectively.
And the official times recorded by the winners of those races, notably the 1m 25.03s credited to Turbine in the 4.10 over 7f 69y, led to doubts they had been run over the advertised distances.
“All the races other than the first two look surprisingly quick, but the seven-furlong race was ludicrous,” Rowlands said.
“The biggest problem is with the seven furlong 69 yard race, which will have been run at a world record speed if it started from that distance from a standing start.
“It appears the time is wrong, because everyone who has timed it makes it about half a second slower, but even then it would be wrong. You cannot run seven furlongs and 69 yards in 85 seconds, even Frankel wouldn’t.”
Rowlands’ claims caused a stir on social media and Newcastle reacted by vowing to look into them and to check the distances before the next meeting a week today.
“We have obviously measured the track through the work but we will have it remeasured by Milton Keynes Survey as soon as we can and certainly before the next fixture,” said Susannah Gill, director of external affairs for track owners Arena Racing Company. “We will update everyone if there are any changes necessary.
“The distances have been taken off historic information and measured by the construction team, but we will have it done by MK Survey, who are the ones that have measured other racecourses and are the standard company used.
“We have changed things by developing the track, there is no doubt things might be slightly different with rail positions, etc, so we are happy to have it remeasured.”
Laying a Tapeta track was part of Arc’s £12 million investment in Newcastle, which has 37 all-weather fixtures in 2016, including the installation of a floodlit straight mile.
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