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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Thursday, 10 March 2011

Cheltenham Town eye up options over racecourse move

Cheltenham Town's Whaddon Road ground
Cheltenham Town have had an average gate of 2,844 this season in League Two

Cheltenham Town chairman Paul Baker says the chance to move from Whaddon Road to the town's famous racecourse will provide a catalyst for the club.

Talks over the redevelopment of Prestbury Park are set to take place after the Cheltenham Festival and Baker is hopeful the Robins could benefit.

"To go to the next stage, which is financial stability and profitability, may well need something like this.

"It's much nearer than it was a year ago," Baker told BBC Gloucestershire.

The Jockey Club are set to put £25-35m into the redevelopment of the infrastructure of the course, which is a mile from the League Two outfit's home at Whaddon Road.

And a double-sided stand, such as at Headingley which hosts cricket and rugby, has been mooted as one potential design.

We're looking at ways at making the possibility of the club moving up to the racecourse a probability

Paul Baker

"The racecourse are very, very keen to start to make things happen in terms of their redevelopment for their own purposes," said Baker.

"If we want to be involved in this process then we need to be involved now because once the scheme starts up there it's too late, so we need to be in at the beginning."

The National Hunt Festival runs from Tuesday, 15 March for four days and BBC Sport understands talks are set to open over redevelopment soon after the conclusion of the meeting.

"We're working together with the council and looking at ways at making the possibility of the club moving up to the racecourse a probability," added Baker.

"There's still quite a lot of work to do, particularly from our point of view, but it's a blue-chip venue, the infrastructure's in place and it would enable the local authority to make better use of this land here [at Whaddon Road].

"For the football club, for the borough council, for the racecourse, for the rate payer and for Cheltonians, a move to the racecourse could be a really positive thing."

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