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London City Racecourse and Pembrey Racecourse are set to become the first new British tracks since Taunton in 1927, the British Horseracing Board announced today.

The BHB has agreed in principle to grant fixtures to both courses for 2002 and beyond.

At its meeting last Monday the BHB considered the four remaining applications from the original list of eight for new fixtures for new racecourses in 2001/2, measuring each of them against BHB's published guidelines.

The venues to miss out are Wessex Worldwide Leisure's Lee-On-Solent and a planned floodlit track at High Gosforth Park in Newcastle put forward by Stan Clarke's company Northern racing Limited.

In October 1997 the BHB turned down Pembrey's bid but in August of last year the west Wales site re-applied along with seven others.

And in February the fight was narrowed down to four with the London City Racecourse, to be based at Fairlop in the east of the capital, and Pembrey emerging as the successful applicants.

London City Racecourse offered the highest investment and prize-money input of all the applications.

All-weather floodlit evening meetings will be the basis of the fixtures to be granted by the BHB to the new track, which will be looking to provide evening racing outside the current period (late April to late August), with the potential to attract significant crowds and to add exciting new betting opportunities.

This is a boost for all-weather racing with sufficient outside investment to provide both races of higher quality and new opportunities which can help meet the challenge of the new all-weather programmes emerging in Europe and Dubai.

On the other hand Pembrey could provide a new audience for racing, situated in an area of South Wales with significant plans for economic regeneration.

The BHB hopes to be able to find 10 fixtures on turf to grant to Pembrey which can meet the needs of the promoters and complement the existing fixture list.

The BHB recognises that the decision in principle to grant fixtures is only the beginning of a period of detailed development proposals, which must include finding and placing suitable fixtures, approval from the appropriate planning authorities, licensing of the racecourses by the Jockey Club and securing funding support from the Levy Board.