New homes for Ascot’s fixtures

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  • Plans for relocating Ascot Racecourse’s meetings when the venue closes for the biggest refurbishment in racing history are coming together, with Windsor, Salisbury and Lingfield hosting the remainder of the course’s 2004 meetings.

    Windsor is to take on two two-day jumps meetings on 19-20 November and 17-18 December: this is the first time national hunt racing will be held at the course since it abandoned jumping fixtures in 1998 after 130 years of staging them.

    Ian Renton, racing director of Windsor course owner Arena Leisure, says: “We’re delighted to assist Ascot, but I have to stress that this is a one-off arrangement and does not herald a permanent return of jumps racing to Windsor.”

    Ascot is to close for 20 months, subject to the final stages of the planning process for its £180m redevelopment, after its three-day flat meeting on 26 September. Its final flat fixture of the season moves to Salisbury (8-9 October), and its first jumps meeting (30 October) is at Lingfield.

    A spokesman for Ascot Racecourse says: “We have an obligation, through media contracts, that meetings are staged. All venues for the 2004 fixtures have been confirmed; the only 2005 fixture confirmed is that Royal Ascot takes place at York.”

    The track’s final jumps meeting of the season is on 20 March — deliberately earlier than usual — and work will then begin on the jumps course, which will form the foundations of the new flat track. After the Diamond Day meeting, which ends on 25 July, work will start on the straight mile section.

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