Warwick abandons Flat racing to concentrate on National Hunt

Warwick racecourse
Warwick racecourse was the first to stage jumps racing in Great Britain in 1831

Warwick racecourse is to abandon Flat racing and stage just National Hunt action from 2015.

The course, criticised after several fallers in Flat races, has struggled to be viable as a dual-purpose track.

Jockey Club director Ian Renton said: "Warwick can now benefit from a clear identity and, in the coming years, significant investment as a top quality small jumps course."

The Flat course will be converted to provide a new spring or autumn course.

BBC Sport racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght
"Warwick's owner, the Jockey Club, has dressed up the news that it's no longer to stage Flat racing, as a simple intention to concentrate on the jumps.
"But talk has been rife for some time - though regularly denied - of the radical change especially after a number of falls in Flat races, one of which injured leading jockey Ryan Moore, leading him to declare he'd be avoiding the track in future.
"All that said, Warwick has long been a miles better National Hunt than Flat racing track, especially its steeplechases, so this news will see its reputation rise markedly."

There will be 17 meetings in 2015 with the conversion of six Flat fixtures to jumps at Warwick, and four Flat fixtures transferring to Nottingham (two), Carlisle and Epsom Downs.

Leading jumps trainer Nicky Henderson said: "I very much welcome the news and see it as a huge benefit to jumps racing.

"Warwick is a very fair course that has good, competitive jumps racing, especially in the novice chase and novice hurdle departments."

Top Stories