sport

Tapeta track for Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton will become the first British track to install Tapeta as its racing surface, owner Arena Racing Company has announced.

The current track at Dunstall Park has come in for criticism in recent months and after an extensive consultation process, ARC has elected to make Wolverhampton the first British venue to use Tapeta.

Tapeta, which was pioneered by former Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Michael Dickinson, is already used at four venues around the world, including Meydan in Dubai.

Wolverhampton will race for the last time on its current surface on Tuesday, with the removal of the existing track due to start next week.

Installation is due to be completed by the end of June with tests throughout July before racing recommences on August 11.

Jim Allen, ARC racing director, said: "ARC is establishing an unmatched record of investing in British all-weather racing through financing new surfaces at its existing tracks, as well as pioneering a new all-weather track at Newcastle and the introduction of the All-Weather Championships.

"We believe it is right time to bring a world-renowned surface like Tapeta to British racecourses for the first time. We remain absolutely committed to the existing Polytrack surface at Lingfield and Fibresand surface at Southwell, both of which have proved safe for horses and popular with trainers.

"I believe we can look forward to years of exciting and competitive racing at all-weather racecourses in Britain."

Dickinson, founder and owner of Tapeta Footings, said: "We are delighted ARC has chosen Tapeta to provide the new racing surface at Wolverhampton.

"The manufacture of synthetic surfaces is ever evolving and by investing in R&D our product continues to advance utilising scientific input in the selection of specifically blended fibres and waxes.

"Our entire team is made up of horsemen who have the horses and riders' best interests at heart. We are truly passionate about our great sport. On a personal note I look forward to renewing my association with British racing."

The National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys Association welcomed the news.

Rupert Arnold, chief executive of the NTF, said: "The NTF welcomes ARC's choice of Tapeta to replace the racing surface at Wolverhampton.

"Tapeta scored highly in our survey of members' preferences for the new surface and trainers who use the material on their gallops have been extremely enthusiastic about its merits.

"It is also reassuring that the Dickinsons are notoriously meticulous about after sales service as it is essential that synthetic surfaces are well maintained."

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the PJA, said: "PJA members gave positive feedback on the Tapeta surface having raced on it in Meydan since 2009, as well as on numerous gallops, and look forward to the opportunity to race on it in Britain."