Walsh puts weight behind Kempton proposals

Stan James King George VI Chase. Won by No6 Kauto Star - Ruby Walsh. 26/12/08

Ruby Walsh won five King Georges on Kauto Star

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)  

 By Keith Melrose 9:27aM 13 JAN 2017 

TOP jockey Ruby Walsh has said that the proposed redevelopment of Kempton is likely to benefit racing in the long term.

Walsh, who rode Kauto Star to five wins in the King George, said in his regular column for RacingUK: “I really don’t think shutting Kempton is necessarily bad for jumps racing, like a lot of people are making out.

“If you do stand still in any walk of life, then you risk being left behind and fading away, but the Jockey Club are doing the opposite by looking to the future.

“We hear every day that prize-money is the biggest issue in racing; well they have pledged to invest £250m into prize-money, half of which is going into jumps racing.

“None of those jumps fixtures from Kempton will be lost as apparently they will be rehoused at different tracks all over the country.

“I would have a big problem if the Jockey Club were pocketing all this money from the housing development, but they’re not and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.”

The rider, who new spends most of his time in Ireland, added that the prospect of Kempton’s demise is hardly new.

“To be honest it wasn’t the biggest surprise,” he said. “Kempton gets a great crowd for Boxing Day, but that’s one day a year.”

He continued: “Of course, I have some great memories of Kempton and have enjoyed some magical days which I will never forget, thanks to Kauto Star, so it is sad that there may not be racing there from 2021. But looking at it in a cold, detached way, this move just makes sense.”

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