WETHERBY will host its first Flat racing fixture next year.

The National Hunt track, following a series of trials over a variety of distances on June 10, has been allocated a meeting on Sunday, April 26, by the British Horseracing Authority.

Chiefs at the West Yorkshire course, however, will continue to focus on jump racing.

Jonjo Sanderson, chief executive and clerk of the course, said: “We are delighted to have been allocated our first Flat raceday on Sunday, April 26 next year.

“This day is a conversion of an existing jump fixture, which had been scheduled to take place the previous Sunday.

“The fixture slot is one that Wetherby has had for a number of years, but we were required to vacate it in 2014 to accommodate the break in jump racing following the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park.

“The rationale behind the introduction of Flat racing at Wetherby is to try and grow our business and attract a new customer base to Wetherby, as well as achieving a greater utilisation of the excellent equine and customer facilities that the racecourse has to offer.

“This should not be seen as a step towards the end of jump racing at Wetherby - in fact the opposite.

“Any Flat racing fixtures we secure will be supplementary to our core activity of jump racing and provide vital support to Wetherby’s jump race programme.”