Lingfield Park racecourse, which has its own station and is easily reached from London, is one of the busiest racecourses in Europe. It is unique among British racecourses since it has both turf and all weather (A/W) flat tracks, and steeplechase and hurdle tracks. It was bought when threatened with closure by ebullient businessman Ron Muddle, who pioneered all weather racing by laying down ‘Equitrack’ in 1989. The first A/W racing took place on 30th October that year, when Conrad Allen trained the first winner, Niklas Angel, who was ridden by Richard Quinn.
The idea was to provide a surface on which horses could race during the winter, when bad weather made jump racing impossible. Such was Muddle’s enthusiasm for the idea that Southwell opened only nine days later, pulling up its flat turf to lay a fibresand track. Muddle later also bought Wolverhampton, and pulled up its NH track to lay the Polytrack surface developed by Martin Collins which had already been installed at Lingfield in 1992. Lingfield, still the pioneer, was the first ever track to use a Polytrack surface, which is widely recognised by trainers as the best artificial surface available for thoroughbreds.