Southwell racecourse closed by flooding until February

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
The BBC's Anthony Bartram says it is a case of "déjà vu" at Southwell Racecourse in Nottinghamshire, which is under water

Southwell racecourse will be closed until February because of flooding.

The Nottinghamshire venue, which has an 'all-weather' fibresand racing surface, hoped to reopen in January.

But now the racecourse, which closed for five months through flooding in 2007, will switch 11 fixtures next month to other tracks.

Its eight December Flat meetings were moved to Wolverhampton, which will have a 14-race afternoon and evening card on 15 December, and Lingfield.

The National Hunt fixture on 4 December was transferred to Towcester after Southwell closed last week.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: "It's devastating, but what can you do?

"We're still attaining all the information we need and talking with the insurers about where we go next.

"Our first fixture in February is a jumps meeting on February 4 and we are due to race on the all-weather the following day. That's what we're aiming for at the moment."

It is thought the double header at Wolverhampton will be a modern-day British record for the most races held at one course in a day. There will be around an hour's break between the afternoon and evening racing.

After torrential downpours at Southwell, water rose to as high as nine inches inside some of the buildings at the racecourse.

The course is owned by Arena Leisure which said it is covered by insurance but estimated the flooding in June to December 2007 cost an estimated £6m.

"Back in 2007 the Environment Agency said it was something that happened once every 50 years, but unfortunately it's only been five years," said Arena spokesman Nathan Corden.

"We are an all-weather track. I know that's ironic for some people that we can't race, but we are under water. This is our busiest time of the year where we normally come into our own."

Seven of Southwell's 11 all-weather January fixtures have been switched to Wolverhampton, with the other four taking place at Lingfield. The National Hunt meetings on 3 and 21 January will be offered to jumps courses.

The racecourse's golf course is out of action and a beer festival on 14 and 15 December has been cancelled.