RACECOURSE bosses want to stage jump racing in Chester and are running trial races next week.
Chester Race Company owns jumps racecourse Bangor-on-Dee and has unveiled plans to hold hurdle races at the city Racecourse.
Governing body the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) confirmed it was considering the proposals and trial races are taking place on Monday.
Chester Race Company chief executive Richard Thomas said: “We are always looking at options and possibilities and hurdle racing used to take place at the May meeting many years ago.
“We all think it could work and we are currently exploring the possibility of holding hurdle races at the course.
“If we were to stage hurdle racing, we would be looking at the top end of prize money as opposed to the bottom end.”
Mr Thomas said it was too early to say whether there would be additional race fixtures and it was likely hurdle races would initially be accommodated into existing fixtures.
Under the proposals, four hurdles would be set up around the one-mile long track with most races taking place over two circuits.
Cholmondeley trainer Donald McCain has agreed to bring six horses to Chester on Monday for the trial. Mr Thomas said: “Donald is a big supporter of Chester and Bangor and has experienced lots of success in the Chester Cup over the past couple of years.
“He is very keen to see whether hurdle racing could work at the course. We believe it could work and provide racegoers with something different but it is a case of looking at how it would factor in with our core business of flat racing.”
There are many dual-purpose racecourses in the UK with a jumps course and a flat course including Haydock, Warwick and Doncaster.
BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: “The BHA has been approached by Chester to explore the possibility of holding a small number of hurdle races there at some point in the future.
“For this to be considered there are several criteria which would need to be met in order to satisfy the BHA racecourse department, course inspectors and veterinary department.
“As a very first step the BHA will attend a schooling session that Chester has arranged on Monday, October 1 to ascertain horsemen’s feedback.”
See full story in the Chester Leader