Queen's grandson backs urban horse racing

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The inside track - How do you create a pop-up racecourse?
Racehorses running down the streets at iconic global locations such as Sydney Harbour Bridge or Fifth Avenue in New York... It might sound implausible, but the man spearheading the project has told BBC Sport he hopes agreements for the first such race meetings, on a special artificial surface, will be in place by the end of next month.He is Peter Phillips, the Queen's eldest grandson, and here he outlines details of racing, safety, crowd and betting plans for the 'City Racing' project and how racing's best-known supporter is following the idea...
What is this all about?
Phillips, who is 14th in line to the throne, has been working on the proposals for five years since staging an equestrian event on a similar surface on Horse Guards Parade in London.He says that leg of the Global Champions Tour demonstrated how safe 'pop-up' conditions for horses in a competitive environment could be installed and removed within three days.Working with the same company - a specialist in providing racetracks that also helped stage equestrian events and beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympics - a successful trial was held at Aintree racecourse in November 2018.Eight tracks commit to 'The Series'
Both projects have been met with some scepticism about whether they will actually go ahead. So what are the realistic hopes for City Racing?"I'm an optimist, but also a pessimist and cautious about trumpeting something before it gets off the ground," said Phillips."I would say the likelihood of a City Racing event is more 70-30 than 50-50 and I am probably being conservative with that."In a 12-month period, we might start with two or three events and build from there. Hopefully within five years, we would have six to eight meetings annually."Funding would come from sponsors, ticketing and hospitality, with betting available on all the races."It might be that 50% of people say this is really cool, and it will be fantastic, and the other 50% are more cautious," added Phillips.
So what does the Queen make of it all?
Phillips is the son of the Princess Royal and brother to Zara Tindall - both winners of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in the past for their equestrian exploits.His grandmother, the Queen, is a racehorse owner and breeder, and he has spoken to the monarch about the project."That is one of those conversations where I can't divulge a huge amount, although she is following it with interest," said Phillips."Every time I see her, she always asks about how it's going and what the latest updates are."
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