03 October 2019
Top jockeys have greeted Southwell’s new floodlights with a ringing endorsement just a month before the track celebrates its 30th anniversary of All-Weather racing on Fibresand.
Luke Morris, the former champion All-Weather rider, says he is looking forward to performing under the lights on the track’s big night on Saturday 9th November - a fixture that will be part of the seventh annual championships. “These are the best lights I’ve ridden under,” says Morris, who rides regularly at floodlit fixtures at Wolverhampton, Chelmsford City, Newcastle and Kempton Park. “They are bright in every area of the track without creating any of those dark shadowy areas that you can get at other courses. All the riders I have spoken to are delighted.”
Joe Fanning, who has ridden more winners on the Fibresand than any other jockey, adds:” These lights are a great asset to Southwell and racing in general. Visibility for jockeys and horses is top class. I’m very happy to ride under them.”
Mark Clayton, executive director at Southwell, recalls: “When the decision was taken to install floodlights, we were detemined to make sure they were second to none, both for the jockeys/horses by eliminating shadows and to limit the environmental impact via light spill for our neighbours. The lights cover not only the whole track but also the parade ring, stables and car parks”.
The LED floodlights were designed and engineered by US based industry leaders Musco Sports Lighting, and feature the same technology installed at several Premier League football stadiums, Twickenham and Wimbledon’s Centre Court. The system includes Musco’s Total Light Control fixtures, 8,000 metres of 100mm plastic ducting, 45,000m of cabling, and 56 lighting columns shipped from America, ranging from 22m to 33m high.
Adaptive controls and multi-level dimming will allow the racecourse to highlight between races only sections of track being used for each race, which can vary from five furlongs to over two miles, resulting in significant energy savings.
Southwell’s owners Arena Racing Company (ARC) gave the project the go-ahead last year after securing extensive flood defences around the site following major flooding in 2007 and further problems in 2009 and 2012.
The lights will be on for Southwell’s landmark fixture on 9th November when the track will officially celebrate three decades of All-Weather racing with an Irish Night.
Celebrations will get under the previous evening, Friday 8th November, with a dinner at the racecourse featuring racing personalities Bob Champion and Derek Thompson. Tickets are £40 each and available from the racecourse on 01636 814481.
For more information, or to buy tickets, please visit