News that a major race day event is moving to Newcastle has been welcomed as a huge boost to the city.
It's been announced that the All-Weather Championships Finals Day is to be held at Gosforth Park next Easter, bringing not just the TV spotlight but also - says a city councillor - thousands more fans and wider knock-on benefits.
The Â£1m Good Friday fixture, which is to switch from its previous home at Lingfield Park in Surrey, has been popular with racegoers ever since it was first hosted in 2014.
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Then news came of a change for the ninth season of the All-Weather Championships on Monday.
Responding to the announcement, Coun Ged Bell, Newcastle City Council's cabinet member for development, neighbourhoods and transport, said: â€œThis is great news for the city.
â€œStaging the All-Weather Finals Day at Newcastle will bring in thousands more racing fans which is good for the local economy and good for employment opportunities."
He added: â€œAttracting TV coverage will also raise the profile of the city in the horse racing world as its sporting credentials continue to develop.â€
Newcastle Racecourse, which has a Fireworks and Fun Fair race night coming up on November 5, introduced all-weather racing in 2016, with a Tapeta track surface.
On the day of the move, Lingfield will instead host an All-Weather Vase.
Arena Racing Company, which owns both Newcastle and Lingfield, also announced an increase of Â£4m in prize money for the 2022 season; compared to 2019, up to a total of Â£21.7m.
Mark Spincer, managing director of ARCâ€™s Racing Division, said: "All-Weather Championships Finals Day has, over the years, become a mainstay of the Easter programme in Britain.
"As we saw prior to the disruption of the last two years, people want to come racing on Good Friday and we feel that Newcastle offers a real opportunity to develop the day even further.
"Equal to this is the popularity of the track and racing surface, as has been proved since the installation of the Tapeta in 2016.
"The six All-Weather Championships Finals alongside the Listed Coral Burradon Stakes will be a premier fixture befitting of the fantastic racing facilities that have been developed at Gosforth Park."
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