Thursday 24th July 2008
The British Horseracing Authority today publishes the Fixture List for 2009, designed to address the demands of all sectors of the sport, including its varied customers, and the first to be produced since the publication of the Strategic Review of the Fixture List (’the Review’).
The Key features of the 2009 fixture list are:
• 1480 programmed fixtures, down 24 on 2008
• 357 evening fixtures, down from 372 in 2008
• 140 fixtures on 48 Sundays during the year, down from 148 on all 52 Sundays in 2008
• 109 Flat fixtures to be run under floodlights outside of the core Evening Racing Period, down from 127 in 2009.
• 567 Jump fixtures, a record and increase of 11 on 2008
• 8 fixtures for Britain’s latest new racecourse, Ffos Las, in South Wales
Of the 1,480 programmed fixtures included in the 2009 Fixture List, 1,442 fixtures will be funded by the Levy Board. The remaining 38 fixtures comprise 34 Enterprise fixtures (of which four are newly created for 2009), three additional Bank Holiday fixtures and one Self-Funded fixture (Musselburgh on 6th June).
A major facet of the Review was to implement a structure to enhance the Sunday racing programme, encouraging underperforming fixtures to relocate elsewhere in the Fixture List, and taking a helpful step towards assisting some of the industry’s workforce concerns by scheduling several ‘blank’ Sundays within the winter months. Working alongside the relevant racecourses to achieve these aims, the 2008 record high of 148 Sunday fixtures (with every Sunday in the calendar covered) is reduced to 140 for 2009, with four ‘blank’ Sundays facilitated, one in each of January, February, March and December.
Other recommendations included in the Review have led to the creation of a Jump-only Sunday on 12th July and an extension of the summer break for Jumping from six to eight days.
The 2009 Flat Season will commence at Doncaster on 29th March, with that racecourse also bringing the season to a close on the afternoon of 7th November before the Winter Flat Season commences two days later.
The Review also recommended the creation of additional fixtures where a particular region is identified as being in need of a fixture on a Bank Holiday, Three applications were received from racecourses and will therefore be new fixtures in 2009 – Fakenham on New Year’s Day, Beverley on the Early May Bank Holiday and Goodwood on the Spring Bank Holiday.
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing, said:
“It’s pleasing that we’ve made good progress implementing the recommendations of the Fixture List Review, which could not have been achieved without the cooperation of a number of racecourses.
“The Review identified the overall strength of the Fixture List, with over 95% of fixtures generating a positive contribution for the sport. We have therefore concentrated our efforts on the relatively few areas of weakness identified, where considerable advances have been achieved.
“Most underperforming fixtures, including Saturday evenings during the winter and some fixtures on Sunday during the winter, have been either been removed from the Fixture List or found alternative dates, whilst, wherever possible, imbalances in the Fixture List have been addressed with, for example, a geographical element being introduced to the bidding process for some BHA fixtures.
“With Jump racing continuing to thrive, additional opportunities will be provided by the creation of eleven additional fixtures and, as a result, the optimal balance outside the Flat season of two Jump fixtures (three on Saturdays) and one Flat AWT fixture on every afternoon will be delivered on all but six afternoons during the middle of winter.
“The expansion of AWT fixtures into the height of the summer at the expense of Turf racing has been stemmed with the number of such fixtures from May to August being reduced by nine.
“The facts emanating from the Review and the recommendations that we have been able to implement leaves us in no doubt that British Horseracing’s Fixture List for 2009 is, by some way, its strongest yet.”
21st July 2008
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
In 2009, the core period of evening fixtures will commence on Friday 17th April and run until the end of August. In line with the extension of LBO opening hours, floodlit evening fixtures have been programmed to cover Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings outside of this period. However, in response to the recommendations set out in the Review, Saturday BHA Flat evening fixtures in the January to March and December periods were not offered for auction in 2009. As a consequence, the total number of fixtures programmed on winter evenings has fallen from 127 in 2008 to 109 in 2009.
Enterprise Fixtures were introduced for the 2008 fixture list and are designed to allow racecourses to expand their fixture portfolios in commercially attractive slots, with racecourses contributing a minimum of £40,000 (Flat) and £30,000 (Jump) prize money.
239 BHB fixtures will be staged in 2009. 136 of these fixtures were auctioned in June via a bespoke online bidding website (of the remainder, 16 were pre-allocated to New Racecourse Great Leighs and 86 had previously been bid for on two or three-year leases). As a result of the bidding activity the 2009 Development Fund – which exists to support races that serve a particular race planning role – will stand at £1.3m.
For the full fixture list please visit