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RCA back Go Racing`s media rights contract

Racing`s on-going media rights saga took a step closer to completion today with the news that Go Racing`s contract had received the blessing of the board of the Racecourse Association.

The Go Racing consortium, which is made up of Arena Leisure - operators of Folkestone, Lingfield, Southwell, Windsor, Wolverhampton and Worcester - BSkyB and Channel 4, is bidding the equivalent of Stg£400 for a 10-year deal.

The RCA board today voted enthusiastically to recommend the contract to all the courses.

Chairman Keith Brown said: 'We have thoroughly examined the contract and firmly believe that this is in the best long-term interests of the industry.

'We originally set about achieving a contract for all 59 racecourses and we are sorry that a few have fallen by the wayside.

'However, the remainder acting together provide a solid foundation as we move to the next stage of our strategy in partnership with the British Horseracing Board negotiating a satisfactorylevy replacement with the bookmakers.

'The Go Racing contract will help to keep horseracing as a main stream British sport. It will encourage more people to follow the sport, attend race meetings, bet on races and possibly become owners.

'We understand the TRG racecourses (made up of Racecourse Holdings Trust, Arena and Northern Racing) will be signing the contract within the next 24 to 48 hours.'

Nine tracks _ Exeter, Fakenham, Hexham, Kelso, Leicester, Perth, Stratford, Taunton and Towcester _ are believed to have gone with the rival GG-Media deal.

GG-Media`s bid is worth £67 million and was aimed at Britain`s smaller independent racecourses.

The company, owned by investment house Fleming Family & Partners and Towcester chairman Lord Hesketh`s family and associates, is offering a five-year scheme for the rights belonging to 26 tracks.