All-Weather Series Set for Launch in England

There will be a series of qualifying races and a championships day in April 2014.

The company that owns three of the four racetracks with synthetic surfaces in England said Oct. 9 it will launch the "All-Weather Championships," a series of qualifiers and a championship day April 18, 2014.

Arena Racing Company, which owns Lingfield Park, Wolverhampton Racecourse, and Southwell Racecourse, said it has committed £2 million in prize money each year over a three-year period. The All-Weather Championships will run throughout the season from October to April and culminate with the staging of the richest all-weather card in Europe.

The fourth all-weather course, Kempton Park, is owned by the British Jockey Club.

ARC said there will be 52 new class 2 and 3 races "inserted into a much-improved race program that has been developed with the British Horseracing Association." The championship program, valued at £1 million, will offer stakes for six divisions.

Horses will qualify through the lead-up races, either through a points system or "Win and You're In" status similar to that of the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

ARC managing director Tony Kelly said the company "undertook an extensive consultation process with the owners, trainers, and jockeys associations as well as the Horsemen's Group. We are grateful for their interest and support and we look forward to seeing them enjoying the enhanced benefits throughout the winter."

In published reports in England, however, the Horsemen's Group said it didn't sign a deal with ARC for the series.