sport

Wolverhampton replace surface

Arena Racing Company (ARC) is to prepare for the possible replacement of the artificial surface at Wolverhampton in the New Year.

ARC has responded to criticism from trainers of the circuit's condition and plans to start a full tender process early in 2014.

A statement from ARC read: "Since the on-going refurbishment work began at Wolverhampton in September there has been some concern and criticism from trainers about the condition of the surface.

"The refurbishment of the surface was neither a quick nor inexpensive fix, but was designed to alleviate the problems experienced in the cold weather last year when 'clumping' led to abandonments.

"As with all race surfaces, safety is paramount and therefore every effort has been made to ensure a safe, raceable surface is achieved with as little kick-back as possible. At present there has been no increase in injuries on the refurbished surface in comparison to previous years.

"Despite there being no concern at present over the safety of the track, it is reaching the end of its useful life and in preparation for that ARC will commence a full tender process to prepare for the replacement of the surface in the new year.

"In the meantime we will continue to monitor the situation and review it again with all interested parties at the end of the season.

"Should it be deemed necessary to replace the track the preparatory work will have been completed in order to complete the replacement prior to the commencement of the ARC All Weather Championship in October 2014."

BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "At present no statistically significant trends indicating welfare issues have been detected regarding the performance of the surface at Wolverhampton.

"However, we will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with trainers, jockeys and ARC on this matter."