Newcastle all-weather track 'best for British racing'

Newcastle upbeat about track switch

Newcastle Races chief executive David Williamson says a new all-weather track is needed for British racing, on the eve of the final Northumberland Plate meeting to be staged on turf.

The 2015 meeting will end a tradition for the Plate going back to 1883.

Newcastle was approved by the British Horseracing Authorityexternal-link to become an all-weather course for the 2016 season.

"It's the right thing for the racecourse and for British racing," Williamson told BBC Look North.

"It will allow more owners to get into horse racing at a time when we looking for owners - it's a very expensive hobby.

"It's needed in the north and I think it will attract horses from Scotland and the Midlands."

Williamson says he understands criticism and disappointment, but is confident the switch to a synthetic surface will bring economic benefit.

"Everyone has an opinion and rightly so," he continued. "It's a difficult one but we feel it's best for the racecourse and British racing."