The British Horseracing Board has reached unanimous agreement on a revised Fixture List policy for 2000.
At a special meeting, BHB Directors were united in re-affirming their commitment to a major expansion of Sunday racing in the summer as the foundation of Racing’s marketing strategy and essential to its campaign of financial self-help.
The main changes from the proposal submitted to the Levy Board on 19th May are the removal of three Sunday fixtures in April and May and the elimination of some of the six Thursday evenings, enabling the maintenance of six Saturday evenings on 22nd and 29th April, 13th and 20th May, 1st July and 26th August. Only the last two Saturday evenings will precede Sunday fixtures.
The BHB’s revised policy will now go to the Levy Board, who will be asked to approve the necessary funding arrangements.
“”I am delighted that the Board have finally agreed a unified policy for the 2000 fixture list,”” said BHB Chairman, Peter Savill. “”It has entailed a little give and take by all parties but preserves the fundamental BHB strategy of developing Sunday racing as a means of increasing both levy and racecourse income, and introducing to racing the racegoer and punter of the future.
“”The 14 consecutive Sundays throughout June, July and August, along with the Sagitta Guineas Festival, will virtually double the Sunday racing programme in the summer of 2000.
“”The relative weakness of Sundays in April and May, when the football season is still in full swing, encouraged the Board to believe that a limited Saturday evening programme could be retained without having a negative impact on racing’s income.
“”We hope it will be possible to expand the number of customer-friendly fixtures further in future.””
SUMMARY OF REVISED BHB FIXTURE POLICY FOR 2000:
* Racing on 14 consecutive summer Sundays from the late-May Bank Holiday to August Bank Holiday, plus Sagitta Guineas weekend (7th May).
* Number of summer Sundays increased from 8 in 1999 to 15 in 2000.
* Racing to continue on a further four Sundays in the autumn.
* Saturday evening summer racing maintained, with six dates in 2000:
22nd April (Easter weekend), 29th April, 13th and 20th May, 1st July, 26th August (Bank Holiday weekend). This is in addition to the Saturday evening programme outside the summer period.
* Saturday evening fixtures to precede Sunday racing on only two weekends (1st/2nd July and 26th/27th August) – a significant reduction compared with 1999.
* Fewer Thursday evenings than the six proposed earlier: the precise number to be the subject of further discussion with the Levy Board.