The BHA Racing Department is responsible for compiling the fixture list and all race programmes as well as providing international liaison.
The size and shape of the fixture list is determined by criteria prescribed the Levy Board, taking into account:
- The maximum number of fixtures which can be run
- The distribution of the fixtures, between racecourses and in relation to the type of races held
- The balance of Flat and Jump races
- The distribution of Evening and weekend fixtures
Within this framework there are two types of fixture:
Racecourses can request to swap and move fixtures with other courses, with the Racing Department overseeing any transfers, ensuring that the best interests of the Fixture List are met.
There is a fixture bidding process which allows a certain number of BHA fixtures to be offered on a leasehold basis.
Racecourses competitively bid against each other for a fixture. The Racecourse with the highest bid is granted the fixture subject to BHA Regulatory Inspectorate approval.
The overall aim of the Racing Department is to produce a programme of races which:
- Is designed to maintain the quality of horses in training, and the competitiveness of racing, by ensuring that horses are catered for broadly in accordance with ability over their entire careers
- Maximises opportunities for the horse population at all reasonable levels of ability and over all distances throughout the season
- Produces a satisfactory product in terms of off-course betting, in order to maximise the Betting Levy
The Racing Department needs to balance the programme to ensure there are adequate opportunities for all the racing participants whilst also satisfying racecourses, racegoers, bookmakers and media.
The Department ensures competitiveness by taking into account the horse population, field sizes, starting prices and competitive racing data whilst also working flexibly to allow it to transfer fixtures or major races at short notice and re-open races.