London racecourses swap furlongs for metres in metric makeover

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London racecourses are testing the use of metric weights and distances during the Olympics to make the sport more accessible to younger adults and overseas visitors.

Metre markers are being featured as well as furlong markers at Kempton Park, Epsom Downs and Sandown Park, while the weights of the jockeys are being measured in kilos, alongside traditional stones and pounds.

The idea was developed by Racing For Change, a body created to make Britain’s horseracing industry more attractive to the widest possible audience.

It believes that Imperial measures confuse some younger adults, particularly as the majority of the UK population and the world now uses metric measures.

Rod Street of Racing For Change said: “Racing’s unique language is an asset and part of its heritage and appeal, but we do think that the use of both metric and imperial measures will help us to explain the sport better to our international visitors and younger adults.

“Imperial measures don’t mean a great deal to kids and tourists, so it makes sense to test the use of metric information.”

A spokesman for Racing for Change added: “We’ve had positive and negative feedback. Younger adults see it as long overdue while a few senior citizens are horrified!”

For more information visit www.racingforchange.co.uk.