The British Horseracing Authority today publishes the Fixture List for 2011, two months later than usual as a result of the funding issues affecting British Racing. The headline figures for the 2011 Fixture List are:
- The total number of fixtures has decreased from 1,503 to 1,480;
- Levy Board prizemoney contributions are allocated to 1,298 of those fixtures, down 164 on 2010;
- 898 Flat and 582 Jump fixtures (2010: 913 and 590 respectively);
- Flat fixtures are made up of 598 Turf fixtures and 300 AWT fixtures (2010: 611 and 302 respectively);
- By session there are 1,111 afternoon fixtures, 273 evening fixtures and 96 twilight fixtures (2010: 1,134, 369 and 0 respectively).
Other key aspects of the 2011 Fixture List are outlined below.
Major Fixture Moves
The most significant fixture moves within the 2011 Fixture List can be summarised as follows:
· The creation of British Champions’ Day and related changes to Ascot and Newmarket’s fixtures in September and October.
· Newmarket’s July meeting moves from Wednesday to Friday, to Thursday to Saturday, with the July Cup continuing to be staged on the final day of the meeting.
· York’s Ebor meeting moves from Tuesday to Friday, to Wednesday to Saturday.
· Sandown’s April Meeting will take place over the Easter weekend, thus significantly strengthening the Easter programme.
· Aintree’s November Becher Meeting, which currently takes place on a Sunday, moves to the first Saturday in December, thereby providing much stronger support to Sandown’s December Meeting (including the Tingle Creek Chase) on the same afternoon.
· Newbury’s December meeting (including the Challow Hurdle) moves from its normal date of 29th December to Saturday 31st December, which means that the race meeting will be televised and provide a suitably strong fixture on the final Saturday of 2011.
Self-Funded BHA Fixtures
In 2010, of the 1,503 programmed fixtures, 1,462 received Levy Board prizemoney contributions.
With no Levy Board prizemoney contributions available for standard BHA fixtures, these were removed from the 2011 fixture list and it was agreed that they would only be reintroduced if racecourses and the Horsemen’s Group came to an agreement regarding the basis for their allocation, including minimum prizemoney levels. Over 200 applications from racecourses that signed agreements with the Horsemen’s Group were received for the available 129 BHA fixtures and 123 applications were successful.
As a new racecourse, Ffos Las has been allocated sixteen BHA fixtures by the Board, comprising 13 Jump, 2 Flat and 1 mixed. These fixtures were allocated subject to the racecourse guaranteeing a minimum contribution to total prizemoney at these fixtures.
In addition to those 16 fixtures, Ffos Las have a further 13 self-funded fixtures, including two Bank Holiday fixtures (details below), bringing their total number of fixtures to 29, one more than in 2010.
Bank Holiday Fixtures
The Board approved applications for 3 new Bank Holiday fixtures in 2011, in addition to the 5 new Bank Holiday fixtures that were approved for 2010:
Easter Monday Ffos Las (one-year only)
August Bank Holiday Bangor-On-Dee
Boxing Day Ffos Las
All three applications will provide racegoers with an opportunity to go racing on a public holiday in parts of the country that are not currently served by other fixtures on that day.
BHA Twilight Fixtures
There are 96 BHA Twilight fixtures in the 2011 Fixture List that will take place between 1st January and 8th April, and 1st
September and 30th December. These have been allocated evenly between Kempton Park and Wolverhampton. These have been introduced to offer a valuable continuity of British Racing betting product that analysis of betting data, supported by betting industry feedback, tells us the customer wants.
They will be programmed to commence ten minutes after the final programmed race at the scheduled afternoon fixtures.
In 2011, they will receive prizemoney contributions of £10,000 and have been allocated on the basis that the average prizemoney at each BHA Twilight fixture will not be less than, on average, £3,000 for each programmed race. They are allocated on 3 year leases for years 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Premier fixtures are to be introduced with a view to ensuring that there are two quality fixtures staged on every
Saturday throughout the year, in addition to the established Festival meetings. The concept will involve setting minimum prize money criteria at these fixtures, and the creation of Premier fixtures will result in qualifying fixtures on a Saturday getting 100% of their Levy Board prizemoney contribution with the remaining fixtures only qualifying for 50%.
Further details will be available once the list of Premier fixtures for 2011 is finalised.
Fixtures to coincide with a special occasion or local initiative
Racecourses were invited to apply to stage fixtures that would coincide with a special occasion or would form part of a local/community initiative. Only one application has been received for 2011 and this was granted. This came from Perth and is associated with introducing a Royal Charities Raceday in Scotland in August.
Nic Coward, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“I said at the British Horseracing Conference in February that a vital task for this year was getting the fixture list for 2011 in the best possible shape, in challenging circumstances. That meant drawing together and implementing the Strategic Review of the Fixture List, Racing for Change and addressing what has become an ever worsening Levy yield.
“We have changed the approach to the Fixture List, and the race programme and the funding structure behind it. We have made significant progress in creating a differentiation of our fixtures and races. As well as British Champions’ Series and British Champions’ Day, we will be highlighting our Premier Fixtures at weekends in addition to the festivals which generate so much international and national interest. In creating the Premier structure, efforts have been made to strengthen Saturdays, including for instance the move of both the Ebor at York and the July Cup at Newmarket to Saturdays.
“We challenged the industry to adopt a new approach to the Fixture List and its funding, so that we will have in 2011 the smallest number of centrally funded fixtures for many years. We have led the new process through which Horsemen and racecourses have for the first time negotiated and agreed fixtures and their prize money.
“In creating the Fixture List, we have had to look hard at the interests of racecourses and their importance to local communities, and the present Levy returns, which have been forced down by betting operators exploiting every available loophole. At the same time, we have confidence that in the coming months Racing will see a Scheme to apply from April 2011 that will deliver the right return so that courses and Horsemen can see a sustainable future.
“Racing is losing out on money it currently should be getting through the existing Levy Scheme. These failings must be addressed if we are to be able to provide our key customers – racegoers and punters – with the product we believe they deserve, and ensure racing’s people achieve a fair return for all that goes into putting the show on the road.”
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“Constructing the 2011 Fixture List has been a lengthy and, at times, very trying process. The outcome though is generally a positive one, especially bearing in mind the backdrop of the decimated central funding. There are still many aspirations for change that we would have for 2012 and beyond to produce a framework that best suits the long term health of this sport. That work starts here.”