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Sandown Park will be the first of three London racecourses to trial the use of metric weights and distances when they stage a six race card that commences at 5.50pm this evening.

The Esher track, along with Kempton Park and Epsom, are set to trial the initiative where metric and imperial measures will be used in conjunction, between tonight and August 9.

The idea comes from Racing for Change, an organisation whose aim is to boost the popularity of horse racing in the UK, and who have timed the trial period to tie in with the increased numbers of tourists in the UK for London 2012.

“This is a great idea when so many tourists will be visiting Britain for the Olympics,” jockey Frankie Dettori said. “In Italy, I grew up with metrics so it’s second nature to me, as well as to my kids, but I can understand why they’re running them side-by-side since many racegoers are happier with Britain’s imperial measures.”

Rod Street, chief executive of Racing for Change, said: “Racing’s unique language is an asset and part of its heritage and appeal, but we do think that the use of both metric and imperial measures will help us to explain the sport better to our international visitors and younger adults.

“Imperial measures don’t mean a great deal to kids and tourists, so it makes sense to trial the use of metric information. This summer, our London racecourses are expecting a significant number of overseas visitors, as well as British families taking advantage of free entry for U16s at most racedays.”

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