DISCUSSIONS are in place between ARC and racing authorities to use Newcastle Racecourse as an isolated hub when the sport resumes.
It means Newmarket may NOT be the only region used when racing does get the green light again.
Trainer Richard Fahey revealed he has been involved with Arena Racing Company (ARC) and the Northumberland track in the hope of setting up a course northern trainers could use.
The news will be a welcome relief to the likes of Mark Johnston and Karl Burke who had looked into renting boxes in Newmarket.
Many in the sport had believed that Newmarket would be the only course to hold racing behind closed doors in the early stages when the current suspension was set to be lifted on May 1.
But Fahey thinks Newcastle is in a better position to host racing with a built in hotel available and its all weather surface.
He said: “I’ve had a bit to do with trying to help ARC set something up at Newcastle, something similar to what has been discussed in Newmarket.
“They are going to cross every T and dot every I, and use the hotel to quarantine people.
“They could set that up and race there everyday and for me that sounds a better idea.
“It’s all about timing really, we need to make sure it’s the right time to do so.”
It’s not clear whether only one hub would be used at the start of any resumption, or whether the possibility of a hub in the north could be used in tandem with Newmarket and one in the south – likely Kempton or Lingfield.
Fahey added: “ARC have done a lot of good work at trying to push this forward and Martin Cruddace has done well.
“Speaking to him and the course, he’s ready to go in 48 hours whenever he gets the green light.
“I just think having Newcastle set up would suit everybody up here much better.”
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The Yorkshire handler is also adamant that if racing gets the go ahead in Newmarket, it has to elsewhere too.
He added: “I’ve seen the Newmarket plans, and it doesn’t include us which is fine, that’s the way it goes.
“But when you hear the likes of James Tate say he doesn’t need to run for prize money it probably shows you the gap between the north and the south. We need to be running for that prize money.
“I think the ARC way is the best way and hopefully the Jockey Club and BHA can see that.
“Without being rude, if we don’t get the go ahead up at Newcastle, then neither should Newmarket.”
Fahey revealed that the hotel on site at Newcastle could be used to quarantine a set number of jockeys and staff, something not available as such in Newmarket.
A pool of riders and horses will stay at the track and remain isolated from other jockeys, horses and members of the public.
It is the only way of racing getting the go ahead while the stresses on the health service are high and the coronavirus pandemic remains in Britain.
It’s where Newcastle may have an edge on Newmarket as transport to and from the Rowley Mile course in Newmarket is one factor still up in the air.
There had even been suggestions that trainers in Newmarket could walk their horses to the course. That would not be a problem at Newcastle.
He said: “I think it’s the safest way to start, even more so than at Newmarket.
“The hotel would be used to quarantine people and that has to be the right thing to do, no?
“Martin has all his ducks in line to get this going, and the BHA, other authorities in this group and the horsemen should see that.
“It’s a shame Newmarket got involved in a way, as ARC had everything sorted and that’s probably side-tracked it a bit.
“The Jockey Club is within their right to do what they want, but it’s a shame.
“Still, watch this space, there’s a long way to go yet. If you don’t plan, it won’t happen and at least we are planning you know.”