As a result of the expanding horse population, it is once again highly probable that this autumn the number of Flat horses wishing to run will exceed the number of available races for them. The impact of this will be a substantial number of eliminations, particularly of lower-rated horses.
The fact remains that constraints on the Fixture List and funding limitations continue to result in the demand for racing opportunities outstripping supply. This problem is most acute on the Flat, in the latter months of the year.
The British Horseracing Board therefore today wishes to outline the opportunities in the coming months for owners and trainers of lower-rated horses, in order to both ensure that they have realistic expectations and that the frustrations caused by continual elimination are minimised.
Following BHB’s introduction of 70 Regional Racing fixtures in 2004, the number of such fixtures was increased to 78 in 2005. Regional Racing was originally designed to cater for horses rated 45 and below, but has since evolved in response to significant growth in the number of horses in training, and the majority of races are now open to horses rated 41 to 50.
Last year, there were 20 Regional fixtures in the months of September (4), October (6), November (3) and December (7), providing much needed opportunities for lower-rated horses. However, there were still some 1,600 eliminations from these meetings during this period.
The number of Regional fixtures over the corresponding period this year has been increased to 36, with 5 in September, 11 each in October and December, and 9 in November. Of the 216 races at these Regional fixtures, over two-thirds (145) will be for horses rated 41-50, with only 31 for horses rated 36-40.
British Racing has a record number of horses in training at present, and the current file shows over 3,000 horses on the Flat to be rated 50 or below.
Accordingly, owners and trainers – particularly those of horses rated 40 and under – may wish to consider whether it is desirable to keep such horses in training for Flat racing over these months.