ARC emphasised that there was no statistical evidence of an increase in injuries to horses racing there, and pointed to a statement from Robin Mounsey of the British Horseracing Authority to support that view. Mounsey said, “At present no statistically significant trends indicating welfare issues have been detected regarding the performance of the surface at Wolverhampton. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with trainers, jockeys and ARC on this matter.”
A statement from ARC emphasised its commitment to safety, saying, “As with all race surfaces, safety is paramount and therefore every effort has been made to ensure a safe, raceable surface is achieved with as little kick-back as possible. At present there has been no increase in injuries on the refurbished surface in comparison to previous years.”
Referring to recent work at the track, ARC said that had been done to reduce the possibility of clumping of the surface, which had led to abandonments last winter.
ARC went on to acknowledge that the surface was probably coming to the end of its useful life; something we suggested was the case when those trainer criticisms first came to light. Yet even now, there appears no sense of urgency to carry out any renewal. Instead, it would be a case of continued review and discussion with all parties over the winter, and if that showed a complete replacement were required, it would take place next year, ahead of the ARC All Weather Championship in October 2014.