The Board of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) this week approved the process by which the pool of BHA Fixtures will be allocated to racecourses as part of the compilation of the 2015 Fixture List. The new, more clearly defined process – which is intended to remain in place for a minimum of three years – is based on a combination of prize money investment and ‘sporting performance’.
Under the system, which has been developed in consultation with racecourses and horsemen, the performance of racecourses in relation to their commitments to prize money and their record in terms of sporting performance, measured by field sizes, number of small field races and betting performance, will be assessed individually.
Each racecourse will be given a rating based on their prize money and sporting performance which, in turn, will determine how many meetings from the pool of around 175 BHA Fixtures they will be entitled to receive. The model is designed to ensure a level playing field and to enable the allocation of BHA Fixtures to be spread among a greater number of racecourses than has been the case previously.
A racecourse will not be eligible for any BHA Fixtures unless certain baseline criteria are met, which includes being signatories to a Prize Money Agreement with the Horsemen’s Group.
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for BHA, said:
“The objective of the fixture allocation process is to ensure the fairest possible distribution of the relatively small number of BHA controlled fixtures. In identifying the most appropriate process we wanted to achieve the optimum impact on the performance and behaviour of all racecourses. We also wanted to ensure we addressed the ongoing concern about field sizes and the need to reduce the number of uncompetitive races.
“We believe that the criteria which apply under this system will bring benefits across the entire racing programme, as we expect that racecourses will seek to ensure they are providing the best possible racing and product year-round in order to enhance their competitiveness in the allocation scheme in future years.
“We also consider the performance of individual racecourses rather than group performance is the fairest approach and provides a more level playing field. This will have the added advantage of allowing smaller, independent courses to compete with large groups for fixtures, providing a greater opportunity for variety and geographic spread of fixtures.
“As governing body, BHA has a duty to ensure that the Fixture List is developed in a manner which is in the best interests of the sport as a whole.”
As previously confirmed, the overall size of the programmed 2015 Fixture List will remain broadly similar to that in 2014. The number of BHA Fixtures available will be slightly fewer than the figure allocated in 2014 as a number of those available last year have subsequently been pre-allocated, including 12 to Chelmsford City.
Notes to Editors
1. It is anticipated that there will be c.175 BHA fixtures for 2015. Of these fixtures, c.96 will be allocated to floodlit All Weather fixtures. Of the remainder a number, likely to be c.35, will be ring-fenced for Jumping fixtures, with the rest available to all courses. It is these fixtures which will be allocated via the proportional system as in this transitional year the c.96 floodlit All Weather fixtures will be distributed evenly between all of the floodlit All Weather racecourses.
2. In the first year of the allocation system the weighting will be 85:15 in favour of prize-money vs sporting performance. However in future years this will be altered to 60:40. This allows racecourses to improve their sporting performance in the first year.
3. Commitments to prize money will be measured in terms of both the racecourse’s commitment to prize money for the BHA Fixtures, but also commitment to prize money across the racecourse’s entire race programme.