Oliver Sherwood: “I don’t think we want to just lie down and accept it.”
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By David Baxter 10:01AM 11 JAN 2017
OLIVER SHERWOOD has called on the racing community to rally together and enter into discussions with the Jockey Club to try and save Kempton.
The sport was rocked on Tuesday when the course’s owners announced Kempton Park would be put up for sale as a housing development, and could close by 2021.
Reaction to the controversial move was divided, with Nicky Henderson lamenting the potential loss of a course which is steeped in racing history.
Grand National-winning trainer Sherwood, speaking on At The Races on Wednesday morning, is shocked by the plans and wants to engage with the Jockey Club to try and preserve the track.
“We’ve got to get our heads together and speak to the Jockey Club and hopefully we might get some sort of package together to save Kempton,” he said. “I don’t think we want to just lie down and accept it.”
As part of the Kempton closure, the King George VI Chase would move to Sandown, while an all-weather track would be created at Newmarket.
However, Sherwood wants these proposals explained in greater detail, and added: “The Jockey Club need to show us this package and then we might understand it. At the moment they’ve just dumped it on us without any explanation other than it’s for maintaining racing’s heritage. That’s just words to me. Show us the sums and what they want to do and we might understand it easier.”
Kempton’s closure would continue a trend of right-handed jumps tracks shutting, with Folkestone and Hereford also falling under the axe in recent years, although the latter has recently reopened.
Sherwood admitted he was fearful for the future of jump racing in Britain, and said: “Kempton is a big, big track and who’s to say that in a few years time it won’t be Sandown or somewhere else going by the wayside. It’s worrying times for the jumping boys.”